A white professor in the US has revealed she pretended to be black during her entire career and has branded herself a “culture leech” in a confessional blog post.
Professor Jessica Krug, 38, teaches African American history at George Washington University including classes on African history and diaspora.
However on Friday she outed herself as a “white Jewish child” from Kansas saying she had been living a lie.
“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,” she wrote on Medium.
“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.
“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.”
Ms Krug is the author of a book, Fugitive Modernities, which begins with a tribute to her “ancestors … whether in my barrio, in Angola, or in Brazil.”
She is publishing a second book, Fathers of No Nation about the “politics of authority” in the Carribbean and has written on hip hop, politics, and gender in both Angola and New York City, according to her university biography.
She has also reportedly taken financial support from the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, according to The Guardian.
In the post, she said “I clearly have been battling some unaddressed mental health demons for my entire life, as both an adult and child.”
“Mental health issues likely explain why I assumed a false identity initially, as a youth, and why I continued and developed it for so long; the mental health professionals from whom I have been so belatedly seeking help assure me that this is a common response to some of the severe trauma that marked my early childhood and teen years.
However she said mental health issues don’t explain how her false identity was “crafted entirely from the fabric of Black lives.”
“I am not a culture vulture. I am a culture leech,” she wrote.
The bizarre confession is reminiscent of the case of Rachel Dolezal who had changed her name to Nkechi Diallo and worked as the former leader of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP).
However she was later exposed as a white woman pretending to be black and was charged with welfare fraud, perjury and false verification for public assistance.
Dolezal’s true identity was revealed in June 2015 when she was asked point blank by a TV crew if she was African-American.
Pictures of her as a young white child later surfaced and her story created media headlines around the world.
However Dolezal did not back down from her claims, saying race is a “social construct.”
“I do think a more complex label would be helpful, but we don’t really have that vocabulary,” Dolezal told The Guardian.
“I feel like the idea of being trans-black would be much more accurate than ‘I’m white.’ Because, you know, I’m not white … Calling myself black feels more accurate than saying I’m white.”
Ms Krug called herself a “coward” and said she should be “cancelled” for her actions.
“You should absolutely cancel me, and I absolutely cancel myself,” she wrote.
“I have built my life on a violent anti-Black lie, and I have lied in every breath I have taken. There are no words in any language to express the depth of my remorse, but then again: there shouldn’t be. Words are never the point.”
“I have not lived a double life. There is no parallel form of my adulthood connected to white people or a white community or an alternative white identity. I have lived this lie, fully, completely, with no exit plan or strategy.
“There is no way for me to satisfactorily end this statement. This isn’t a confession, it isn’t a public relations move, and it damn sure isn’t a shield. s
“It is the truth, though.”
Friends and colleagues have been shocked by the news, with Hari Ziyad saying the professor only confessed after she was caught.
“She didn’t do it out of benevolence,” Ziyad tweeted. “She did it because she had been found out.”
Dr Yomaira Figueroa, an associate professor at Michigan State University, agreed.
“Krug got ahead of the story because she was caught & she knew the clock was ticking bec folks started to confront her & ask questions,” Figeuroa wrote.
“Do not believe for one second that she would have come out with the truth on her own.”
Yarimar Bonilla, a political anthropologist and professor at Hunter College said she always felt “something was off with her.”
“See, not only did she try to “pass” (we need a better term here – masquerade?) as Latina from “El Barrio” but she also told us her parents were addicts and even said that there were overdoses and suicide attempts happening during the fellowship period,” she tweeted.
“She always dressed/acted inappropriately—she’d show up to a 10am scholars’ seminar dressed for a salsa club etc—but was so over the top strident and “woker-than-though” that I felt like I was trafficking in respectability politics when I cringed at her MINSTREL SHOW.”
A spokesman for the university said officials were investigating the situation.