White college professor admits to lying about being Black for decades
Duke University Press

A white professor has admitted she faked being Black for years in a viral Medium post.

Jessica Krug, who is employed as a historian and professor at George Washington University, published an open letter on her Medium blog, entitled, “The Truth and the anti-Black Violence of My Lies.”

In the Medium post, Krug admitted to lying about being Black throughout her adult life. She says she had claimed “North African Blackness, U.S. rooted Blackness and Caribbean-rooted Bronx Blackness.” Krug says that she is white Jewish woman from Kansas City.

She says, “People have fought together with me and have fought for me, and my continued appropriation of a Black Caribbean identity is not only, in the starkest terms, wrong — unethical, immoral, anti-Black, colonial — but it means that every step I’ve taken has gaslighted those whom I love.”

Krug cites unaddressed mental health issues and severe trauma from her early childhood and teenage years, but admits that mental health issues cannot explain or justify her behaviour. She calls herself a “culture leech.”

Krug has previously written about the historic Black experience in the US, has received scholarships and fellowships for Black scholars, and was a finalist for the Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass book prizes.

In the introduction to her first book, Fugitive Modernities, she writes, “My ancestors, unknown, unnamed, who bled life into a future they had no reason to believe could or should exist. My brother, the fastest, the smartest, the most charming of us all. �Those whose names I cannot say for their own safety, whether in my barrio, in Angola, or in Brazil.”

On social media, others who work in academia stepped forward to share their experience with her.

Dr.Yomaira Figueroa, an associate professor of English, Latinx and Afro-Diaspora studies at Michigan State University, shared a Twitter thread about the possible reasons why Krug might have come forward and come clean now.

Others pointed out how Krug’s behaviour actually harms Black people.

Some people are drawing parallels to Rachel Dolezal, a white activist and academic who said that she was black, and had even led a local NAACP chapter. Dolezal has been the subject of a Netflix documentary, and still maintains that she “feels black”. Dolezal lost her job as an instructor of African American studies at a university too.

Recent footage has also emerged which showed Krug speaking at a New York City public hearing on police brutality, where she called herself “Jess Bombalera” and said that she wanted to “call out all these white New Yorkers who waited four hours with us to be able to speak and then did not yield their time for Black and Brown indigenous New Yorkers.”

In the Medium post, Krug also admits that she doesn’t really know how to fix what she’s done, and that she has “no identity outside of this.”

Please log in or register to upvote this article
The Conversation (0)