White US African American history expert admits pretending to be black for years

"I am not a culture vulture. I am a culture leech."
"I am not a culture vulture. I am a culture leech." Photo credit: Duke University Press / George Washington University.

A white US university professor specialising in African American history has admitted to pretending to be a black woman for years.

In a Medium post, Jessica Krug, an associate professor at George Washington University, says for most of her adult life "every move I've made, every relationship I've formed has been rooted in the napalm toxic soil of lies".

"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 writes. 

"I have not only claimed these identities as my own when I had absolutely no right to do so."

She says her actions epitomise the way non-black people abuse black identity and culture.

Her assumption of a false identity may be a response to "severe trauma that marked my early childhood and teen years", she says mental health professionals tell her. 

"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."

But she says that doesn't justify her actions.

"I am not a culture vulture. I am a culture leech."

While Krug considered "ending these lies" many times, she didn't because of her "cowardice'.

She believes "cancel culture" is a "necessary and righteous tool for those with less structural power to wield against those with more power".

"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."

The associate professor doesn't "know how to fix this" and has "no identity outside of this". Because of that, she denies living a double life. 

"There is no parallel form of my adulthood connected to white people or a white community or an alternative white identity. I have lived this lie, fully, completely, with no exit plan or strategy."

But there is no suggestion for why she came forward now. 

Screenwriter Hari Zaiyd tweeted on Friday that Krug had been his "friend up until this morning" when she rang him admitting to not being black.

"She didn't do it out of benevolence. She did it because she had been found out."

He admits he "always knew there was something off" due to "her persistent negativity and jealousy, her always needing to prove her authenticity at the expense of everything else". But he said he put that down to her "trauma".

"For years I defended her work, and her from her own self-loathing. I did it despite warnings from Black friends, from those who said she wasn't Black enough even if they could accept that she was Black, and from my own mind and body."

Another associate professor has also claimed Krug came forward as she had been found out.

It's been said that Krug used the alias Jess La Bombalera to pose as an activist. 

Krug recently wrote a book about how "fugitives mounted effective resistance to European colonialism" which received support from the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

Multiple media outlets have tried to contact Krug. A spokesperson for George Washington University has reportedly said the university is aware of the Medium post and is in looking into the situation.

The associate professor's university biography says she specialises in Africa, Latin America, African American History, early modern world and Imperialism and Colonialism.

Many online have commented that Krug's case bears resemblance to that of Rachel Dolezal, another white activist who claimed to be black. She had been a National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People chapter president until her white parents revealed she had been passing for a black woman.