George Washington University in the US has launched an investigation after an associate professor of African and Latin American Studies admitted she had lied about being black for years. According to a BBC report, the academic and seasoned activist — who in reality is a white woman from Kansas — will not be returning to teach in the prestigious university this semester.
In an impassioned blog post shared on Medium.com Thursday, Jessica A Krug revealed that she was guilty of misrepresenting herself as an African American and appropriating black culture for a majority of her career as an academic.
“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,” she wrote. “First North African Blackness, then US rooted Blackness, then Caribbean rooted Bronx Blackness.”
George Washington University (GWU) shared a statement soon after the blog post went viral, stating that Krug would not be teaching classes while her case was being reviewed. “We want to acknowledge the pain this situation has caused for many in our community and recognize that many students, faculty, staff and alumni are hurting,” the statement read.
Professors from GWU’s Department of History, where Krug previously worked, have also released a joint-statement calling for her resignation, BBC reported. “She has betrayed the trust of countless current and former students, fellow scholars of Africana Studies, colleagues in our department and throughout the historical discipline, as well as community activists in New York City and beyond,” they wrote.
In her blog post, Krug claims that mental health issues and a traumatic childhood had a role to play, but adds they can not be used as an excuse for her behaviour. “To say that I clearly have been battling some unaddressed mental health demons for my entire life, as both an adult and child, is obvious. Mental health issues likely explain why I assumed a false identity initially, as a youth, and why I continued and developed it for so long,” he post read.