A White history professor at George Washington University on Thursday admitted to falsely claiming a Black identity. Jessica A. Krug said in a Medium post that she is actually White and Jewish, but that she has “built her life on a violent anti-Black lie.”
Krug wrote that, throughout her adult life, she claimed to have North African, African American and Caribbean heritage. She called her actions 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.”
“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,” wrote Krug, who is originally from the suburbs of Kansas City.
According to her university bio, Krug is an expert in Africa, Latin America, African American history, early modern world history, imperialism and colonialism. Her courses include, “Caribbean on the Move: The Politics of Immigration and Popular Dance in the Caribbean and Its Diasporas” and “Africa and the African Diaspora: (Trans)Nationalisms and the Politics of Modernity.”
She is a finalist for both the Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass book prizes.
Krug called her appropriation of Black identity “unethical, immoral, anti-Black, colonial” and said her lies mean “that every step I’ve taken has gaslighted those whom I love.”
She said that she has not lived a double life — claiming to be Black in some instances and White in others — but had fully committed to living “this lie, fully, completely, with no exit plan or strategy.”
Krug said she has been battling “unaddressed” mental health issues since her childhood when she first began claiming a false identity. “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,” she wrote.
However, she clarified that she is not blaming her actions on her mental health, nor attempting to use it as justification.
“That I claimed belonging with living people and ancestors to whom and for whom my being is always a threat at best and a death sentence at worst,” she said. “I am not a culture vulture. I am a culture leech…I am a coward.”
Krug said she believes in cancel culture and that she “should absolutely be canceled.” However, she did not specify if she would be resigning from her position at the university.
She wrote that “there are no words in any language to express the depth of my remorse” and said that she “would never ask for nor expect forgiveness.”
A GWU spokesperson told CBS News that the school is working on a response.