A vocal activist, author and professor of African American history at George Washington University, Jessica Krug, has confessed that she lied about being Black for a number of years, but is actually a white, Jewish woman.
The story, which echoes that of artist Rachel Dolezal's (who dangerously refers to herself as "transracial"), was broken by an essay written by Jessica on Medium. Reports say she decided to come clean after two students at the university she taught in raised suspicions.
In the essay, Jessica (who reportedly also used the alias Jess La Bombera) details how she lied repeatedly over the years and used her false identity to get ahead in her chosen career, even writing a book about the politics of slavery. She even dedicated the work, Fugitive Modernities, to her 'ancestors': "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."
"For the better part of my adult life, every move I’ve made, every relationship I’ve formed, has been rooted in the napalm toxic soil of lies. Not just any lies," wrote Krug, as part of her coming clean. "To an escalating degree over my adult life, I have eschewed my lived experience as a white Jewish child in suburban Kansas City under various assumed identities within a Blackness that I had no right to claim: first North African Blackness, then US rooted Blackness, then Caribbean rooted Bronx Blackness."
She also acknowledged how harmful culture appropriation is and admitted to gaslighting her loved ones. "I have not only claimed these identities as my own when I had absolutely no right to do so — when doing so is the very epitome of violence, of thievery and appropriation, of the myriad ways in which non-Black people continue to use and abuse Black identities and cultures — but I have formed intimate relationships with loving, compassionate people who have trusted and cared for me when I have deserved neither trust nor caring.
"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."
By way of explanation, Krug said that she'd been battling "mental health demons" for a long time, in response to traumatic experiences that took place during her childhood and teenage years.
Some who knew her have expressed their shock and horror at the revelation on social media, with one, writer Robert Jones Jr., sharing his regret at having offered her activism a platform in the past.
Good evening Black family,— Son of Baldwin (Robert Jones, Jr.) (@SonofBaldwin) September 4, 2020
This morning, I found out that Jessica A. Krug aka Jess La Bombera, is a white woman who has been posing as a Black woman for over 10 years.
"Good evening Black family,This morning, I found out that Jessica A. Krug aka Jess La Bombera, is a white woman who has been posing as a Black woman for over 10 years. Many Black women have been attempting to make this information known and had been shut down in their attempts. I had no idea," he tweeted. "I shared about five of Jess's articles here over the past three years and allowed her to take the mic on occasion when she told me my analysis wasn't thorough enough and I needed to let her speak 'as a Black woman'. I'm sorry."
According to a BBC report, the university where Krug teaches African, Caribbean and diaspora history, have said they're aware of, and investigating, the situation.
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