Professor Jessica A. Krug is giving everyone flashbacks to the Rachel Dolezal “transracial” controversy after confessing that she’s spent her entire career pretending to be Afro-Latina in a post entitled “The Truth, and the Anti-Black Violence of My Lies.” Krug – a white Jewish woman – taught African American history among other courses since 2012 at George Washington University. On her page on the university’s website her “areas of expertise” include Africa, Latin America, African American History, Early Modern World, Imperialism, and Colonialism.
She attributes her years of deception to her “mental health demons” and admits she knows she deserves to be “canceled.” She described herself as “boricua” in a 2019 essay adding she’s “an unrepentant and unreformed child of the hood.” She’s written extensively about Africa, Latin America, the diaspora, and identity, claiming both Black and Latinx roots.
“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 wrote.
“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,” she added. “I am not a culture vulture,” she wrote. “I am a culture leech.”
“I should absolutely be cancelled. No. I don’t write in passive voice, ever, because I believe we must name power. So. You should absolutely cancel me, and I absolutely cancel myself,” she added.
Latinx twitter came for Krug for reinforcing how she exploited her white privilege by co-opting the racial identity of a Boricua. “Kind of amazing how white supremacy means she even thought she was better at being a person of color than we were,” tweeted Professor Yarimar Bonilla who was a fellow with Krug. “While claiming to be a child of addicts from the hood, she boasted about speaking numerous languages, reading ancient texts, and mastering disciplinary methods—while questioning the work of real WOC doing transformative interdisciplinary work that she PANNED,” she added.
Many are asking themselves how #JessicaKrug managed to fool anyone into believing she was Afro Latina. Well, let me tell you: we were both fellows at the Schomburg and I suppose she fooled me. (a thread 🧵)
— Yarimar Bonilla 👩🏾💻 (@yarimarbonilla) September 3, 2020
Afro-Boricua professor who goes by the Twitter handle @DrYoFiggy explained that Krug confessed after Black Latina scholars started researching her background. She criticized her for “parroting Black Rican trauma and survival” and making a living off of it. “Whiteness is a hell of a drug but also she needs to account for everything she has taken, everything she has gained, all that she stole by creating this identity & shrouding herself with Black & Latinx folks who defended, supported, and lifted her up. What does restitution look like when she won awards, grants, & fellowships for underrepresented folks?”
The only reason Jessica Krug finally admitted to this lie is bec on Aug 26th one very brave very BLACK Latina junior scholar approached two senior Black Latina scholars & trusted them enough to do the research & back her up. Those two scholars made phone calls & reached out to…
— Dr. YoFiggy (@DrYoFiggy) September 3, 2020
CNN spoke with a former student of Krug’s who said she would use a lot of Spanish and allegedly once shared that plátanos were important to her family in the Dominican Republic but also told another student she was from Puerto Rico. The student – Anmol Goraya – also said that Krug would use the N-word when it was in a text the class was reading.
She recently wrote a piece titled “On Puerto Rico, Blackness, And Being When Nations Aren’t Enough” for Essence that has since been deleted but for now still shows up as a result of a Google search. During a New York City public hearing on police brutality in June, she introduced herself as “Jess La Bombalera.” I’m here in El Barrio, East Harlem – you probably have heard about it because you sold my f**king neighborhood to developers and gentrifiers,” She then adds: “I wanna 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.”
Her years of deception masquerading as being a part of a culture she has no connection with is unforgivable and attributing it to mental illness is not getting her sympathy from the communities she’s hurt. “I am VERY TIRED of white people blaming mental illness as to why they did something racist. As someone who recently had to put their spouse in a mental health facility, MENTAL ILLNESS DOES NOT CAUSE OR HEIGHTEN RACISM. STOP SHIFTING BLAME JESSICA KRUG,” tweeted film critic Yolanda Machado.
— Duke University Press (@DukePress) January 4, 2019