A United States white history professor has admitted to falsely claiming a Black Caribbean identity.
Dr. Jessica A. Krug, an associate professor in history at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., wrote in a blog on Sept. 3 that she is actually white and Jewish, and that she has “built her life on a violent anti-Black lie.”
Dr. Krug wrote that, throughout her adult life, she claimed to have North African, African American and Caribbean heritage.
Writing under the caption, “The Truth, and the Anti-Black Violence of My Lies,” Dr. Krug said that, “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. Not just any lies.
“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.
“I have not only claimed these identities as my own when I had absolutely no right to do so — when doing so is 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 — but I have formed intimate relationships with loving, compassionate people who have trusted and cared for me when I have deserved neither trust nor caring,” she added.
“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,” Dr. Krug continued. “Intention never matters more than impact.”
The professor said that to say that she has been battling “some unaddressed mental health demons” for her entire life, as both an adult and child, is “obvious.”
She said her mental health issues likely explain why she assumed “a false identity initially, as a youth,” and why she “continued and developed it for so long.”
Dr. Krug said the mental health professionals from whom she claimed she has been “so belatedly seeking help” assured her that “this is a common response to some of the severe trauma that marked my early childhood and teen years.”
But, she said, “mental health issues can never, will never, neither explain nor justify, neither condone nor excuse, that, in spite of knowing and regularly critiquing any and every non-Black person who appropriates from Black people, my false identity was crafted entirely from the fabric of Black lives.”
Stating that she is “not a culture vulture” but “a culture leech,” Dr. Krug said she had thought about ending “these lies many times over many years,” but added that her “cowardice was always more powerful than my ethics.
“I know right from wrong. I know history. I know power. I am a coward,” she wrote. “I am a coward. There is no ignorance, no innocence, nothing to claim, nothing to defend. I have moved wrong in every way for years.”
Dr. Krug said she believes in “restorative justice, where possible, even when and where I don’t know what that means or how it could work.
“I believe in accountability. And I believe in cancel culture as a necessary and righteous tool for those with less structural power to wield against those with more power,” she said. “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.
“Accountability works only when you are in community with people,” she added. “How can I be in any type of meaningful community with those whom I have so harmfully and horrifically deceived for so long?
“I have built my life on a violent anti-Black lie, and I have lied in every breath I have taken,” Dr. Krug continued. “There are no words in any language to express the depth of my remorse, but then again: there shouldn’t be. Words are never the point.
“The wrath of all whom I’ve harmed, individually and collectively, will never erase the harm I’ve done,” she said. “Pain and trauma, injustice and violence, aren’t algebra, and there’s nothing to put on the other side of this equals sign but a big, bold void.”
Dr. Krug said she was unsure how to fix her lie, stating that she was “attempting to lay out a timeline” of her deceit to better understand all whom she has violated “and how, and to begin to imagine how to restore, to address, to redress.”
“But I can’t fix this,” she said, stating that she has “burned every bridge” and has no expectation that any of her relationships are “flame resistant.”
“I would never ask for nor expect forgiveness,” Krug wrote. “I long to repair my relationships on whatever terms those whom I’ve harmed need, but only those whom I have harmed can decide if they are willing.
“To everyone who trusted me, who fought for me, who vouched for me, who loved me, who is feeling shock and betrayal and rage and bone marrow deep hurt and confusion, violation in this world and beyond: I beg you, please, do not question your own judgment or doubt yourself,” she added.
“You were not naive. I was audaciously deceptive,” she continued. “I have a very clear, loud conscience, but I have acted as if I had none. I gaslit you. I begged for your compassion and love for my isolation and loneliness — real and raw feelings, but borne of the avalanche of deceit.
“I have lived this lie, fully, completely, with no exit plan or strategy,” Krug said. “I have built only this life, a life within which I have operated with a radical sense of ethics, of right and wrong, and with rage, rooted in Black power, an ideology which every person should support, but to which I have no possible claim as my own.”
The history professor said there was “no way” for her to satisfactorily end her statement.
“This isn’t a confession, it isn’t a public relations move, and it damn sure isn’t a shield,” she said. “It is the truth, though.”
On Sept. 4, George Washington University said it has moved to suspend Prof. Krug.
“While the university reviews this situation, Dr. Krug will not be teaching her classes this semester,” said the university in a statement. “We are working on developing a number of options for students in those classes, which will be communicated to affected students as soon as possible.”
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