Jessica Krug: George Washington University professor resigns


Jessica Krug poses with her book Fugitive Modernities in 2019Image copyright
Duke University Press

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Jessica Krug’s work focuses on Africa and the African diaspora

A US academic who was being investigated after admitting she lied about being black has resigned, George Washington University has confirmed.

Jessica Krug, an associate professor whose work focuses on Africa and the African diaspora, admitted in a blog post last week that she was in fact a “white Jewish” woman from Kansas City.

The post read: “I have built my life on a violent anti-black lie.”

Her colleagues said they were “shocked and appalled” by her admission.

In a Medium post published last Thursday, Ms Krug said she had falsely assumed identities “that I had no right to claim: first North African Blackness, then US rooted Blackness, then Caribbean rooted Bronx Blackness”.

In a tweet on Wednesday, George Washington University said Ms Krug had “resigned her position, effective immediately”.

“Her classes for this semester will be taught by other faculty members, and students in those courses will receive additional information this week,” it added.

She has not commented.

What did she say in her post?

Ms Krug described her behaviour as “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.”

She added that she had continued the pretence even in her personal relationships. She cited mental health issues and trauma experienced in her early years, although she said this was not an excuse for her actions.

According to media reports, Ms Krug also used the name Jessica La Bombalera as an activist. In one video posted earlier this year, she berated white New Yorkers for failing to “yield their time for Black and Brown indigenous New Yorkers”.

Ms Krug’s academic work includes the 2018 book Fugitive Modernities: Kisama and the Politics of Freedom, which focuses on the politics and culture of African and African diaspora societies.

Her case bears strong parallels to race activist Rachel Dolezal, a white woman who claimed to be black. After her parents outed her in 2015, she said she “identified as black”.

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Media caption“The idea of race is a lie” – Rachel Dolezal speaks to Emily Maitlis

On Friday, following the publication of her blog post, Ms Krug’s colleagues at GWU’s Department of History released a joint statement calling for her to resign from her post or for the university to remove her tenure.

The university said then Ms Krug would not teach classes and acknowledged “many students, faculty, staff and alumni [were] hurting”.

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