African studies professor Jessica Krug of George Washington University has come out of the race closet, admitting she has faked being black much of her adult life after growing up as a “white Jewish child in suburban Kansas City.”
“I am not a culture vulture, I am a culture leech,” Krug said Thursday in a Medium.com post. She added, “Every move I’ve made, every relationship I’ve formed, has been rooted in the napalm toxic soil of lies.”
Krug, who is an associate professor at prestigious George Washington, said she eschewed her own ethnicity and assumed a series of black identities, from North African to African American to “Caribbean-rooted Bronx blackness.” She said her appropriation of a black Caribbean identity not only was “unethical, immoral, anti-black, colonial – but it means that every step I’ve taken has gaslighted those whom I love.”
The confession echoes other notable cases of white people who have adopted minority identities, from Rachel Dolezal, the supposedly black NAACP official who was exposed as being white in 2015, to Elizabeth Warren, the white US senator who claimed to be of Native American heritage and was once touted as the first “woman of color” to become a tenured professor at Harvard University.
Krug’s deception apparently didn’t begin as an effort to get ahead in her career, however. She said she assumed a false identity likely because of “mental health demons” after suffering abuse as a child and becoming a “teenager fleeing trauma.” She emphasized that the genesis of her deceit didn’t justify her actions: “There is no ignorance, no innocence, nothing to claim, nothing to defend,” Krug wrote. “I have moved wrong in every way for years.”
She said her politics remain the same as when she was pretending to be black, “and those politics condemn me in the loudest and most unyielding terms.” Krug said she believes in cancel culture “as a necessary and righteous tool for those with less structural power to wield against those with more power.”
“I should absolutely be canceled,” she said. “I don’t write in a passive voice, ever, because I believe we must name power. So, you should absolutely cancel me, and I absolutely cancel myself.”
Krug authored a book on the Angolan slave trade, called ‘Fugitive Modernities: Politics and Identity Outside the State in Kisarma, Angola, and the Americas’. According to her George Washington profile, she also has written on hip hop, politics and gender in Angola and New York City, as well as “transnational ritual idioms” of politics in Jamaican Maroon societies of the 18th century.
The professor reportedly also worked as an “Afro-Latina” activist in New York City under the alias Jess La Bombera. Her Medium.com post came as a shock to fellow activists, including Robert Jones Jr., who said he had often “deferred to and stepped aside and gave the mic to” Bombera. Jones added that he suspected Bombera wasn’t black, but other black women vouched for her and said she was light-skinned.
Under the Bombera alias, Krug gave expletive-laced testimony to the New York City Council in June. She complained that white New Yorkers waited for hours for their turn to speak and did not yield their time to “black and brown indigenous New Yorkers.”
Krug said she considered revealing her true identity many times, “but my cowardice was always more powerful than my ethics.” She said she didn’t live a double life because she never developed an adult identity as a white person, instead living her lie “completely, with no exit plan or strategy.”