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White US professor says she lied about being black

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

A US academic whose work focuses on Africa and the African diaspora has said she lied about being black.

Jessica Krug, an associate professor at George Washington University, admitted that she was in fact a white Jewish woman from Kansas City.

“I have built my life on a violent anti-Black lie, and I have lied in every breath I have taken,” she wrote.

Her case bears strong parallels to Rachel Dolezal, a white race activist who claimed to be black.

Ms Dolezal first made headlines in 2015 when her parents outed her as white.

The former civil rights activist and African studies instructor had kept up the pretence of being African American for years, but said she “identified as black”.

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Media captionRachel Dolezal told the BBC that “the idea of race is a lie”

Writing in a Medium post published on Thursday, Jessica 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”.

She described this 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”, adding that she had continued the pretence even in her personal relationships.

She blamed her lies on mental health issues and trauma experienced in her early years, although she said this was not an excuse for her actions.

Ms Krug’s post did not give a reason for her decision to admit her deception, nor its timing. However, screenwriter Hari Ziyad said her admission came “because she had been found out”.

“Jess Krug… is someone I called a friend up until this morning when she gave me a call admitting to everything written here. She didn’t do it out of benevolence,” he wrote on Twitter.

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”.

George Washington University, where Ms Krug teaches courses in African, Caribbean and diaspora history, has said it is “aware” of Ms Krug’s Medium post but could not comment further on the case.


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