White Professor Who Fabricated Identity Won't Teach Classes This Fall, University Says

Professor Jessica Krug revealed in a Medium post that she “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.”

After George Washington University professor Jessica A. Krug revealed she’s been lying about her racial identity for years, the university announced she won’t be teaching classes this fall. The history department where Krug worked also called on her to resign.

Krug is an associate professor who teaches “politics, ideas, and cultural practices in Africa and the African Diaspora, with a particular interest in West Central Africa and maroon societies in the early modern period and Black transnational cultural studies,” according to the university’s website. She has also written two books and many critical pieces regarding race, slavery, hip-hop, politics, and cultural history in the Dominican Republic and Jamaica.

But in a post published Thursday to Medium, Krug revealed that she fabricated her own Black and Latin heritage. 

“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,” Krug said in the post. 

She continued: “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.”

In the piece, Krug attributes her taking on a false identity to mental health issues, calls herself a “coward” and a “culture leech,” and said she thought many times about coming clean but “my cowardice was always more powerful than my ethics.” She also said she should be “cancelled,” and that “there are no words in any language to express the depth of my remorse.”

“I don’t know how to fix this. I am attempting to lay out a timeline of my deceit to better understand all whom I have violated and how, and to begin to imagine how to restore, to address, to redress… But I can’t fix this,” she said. 

In a July 2019 article in Essence magazine about the Puerto Rican uprising against a corrupt governor and administration, Krug identifies herself as a “Boricua.” She wrote: “I am boricua, just so you know. Boricua, not Puerto Rican, to reflect the name by which the indigenous people knew the island before Columbus invaded.”

“And just so you know—you, fellow boricua, you, fellow colonized people of all nations, from the South Bronx to San Juan, from Ponce to Palestine: Another world is possible,” she continues. 

At the end of the article, Krug describes herself in her byline as an “an unrepentant and unreformed child of the hood.”

Krug also published an op-ed in Essence in August titled, “On Puerto Rico, Blackness, And Being When Nations Aren’t Enough.”

In a statement to NPR, George Washington University spokesperson Crystal Nosal said, “We are aware of the post and are looking into the situation. We cannot comment further on personnel matters."

Krug’s fabricated identity is drawing comparisons to Rachel Dolezal, the former head of the NAACP’s Spokane, WA chapter whose parents revealed in 2015 that she had been “disguising herself” as Black for many years.