An associate professor at George Washington University admitted on Thursday that she has been lying about growing up in the Bronx as a black woman.
In reality, Jessica A. Krug – a University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate and now professor of history at GWU – is of white and Jewish heritage from Kansas City.
She admitted to the lifelong facade in a blog post published through Medium on Thursday.
“To an escalating degree over my adult life,” she wrote, “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 says that she “had absolutely no right” to claim these identities and that her actions are “the very epitome of violence, of thievery and appropriation” against black communities and cultures.
Krug points to mental health issues as the root cause of this problem she has faced since childhood: “…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.”
“But mental health,” she wrote, “can never, will never, neither explain nor justify, neither condone nor excuse, that…my false identity was crafted entirely from the fabric of Black lives.”
Krug has been an associate professor at GWU since 2012. According to GWU’s website, her areas of expertise are in Africa, Latin America, African American History, and Imperialism and Colonialism. Her book “Fugitive Modernities” was a finalist for both the 2019 Frederick Douglass Book Prize and the 2019 Harriet Tubman Prize.
Her admission has sent ripples of shock and anger through social media, GWU, and academic communities.
Aria Sakona, a senior at GWU who has been taking one of Krug’s courses, said she was “definitely very shocked”.
Another student – a junior by the name of Anmol Goraya – told CCN, “From the moment she came into the classroom, I was in awe of her. And I’m just shocked that it was such a complete lie.” Goraya took one of Krug’s classes in spring 2019.
Dr. Yomaira Figueroa of Michigan State University wrote on Twitter that Krug’s admission only came because she was soon to be found out:
“I am a coward,” Krug wrote of herself. “There is no ignorance, no innocence, nothing to claim, nothing to defend.”
“I should absolutely be cancelled….You should absolutely cancel me, and I absolutely cancel myself,” she said, advocating for cancel culture “as a necessary and righteous tool for those with less structural power to wield against those with more power.”
George Washington University has acknowledged they are aware of Krug’s post and they are looking into the situation.