On Thursday, Sept. 3, a woman named Jessica Krug, who many outside of academia knew nothing about prior to this unfortunate moment, took over the Twitter discourse following the publication of her essay titled “The Truth, and the Anti-Black Violence of My Lies.”
In the article, published on Medium, the associate professor of African American history at George Washington University, admits to lying about her identity. For the last fistfuls of years, Krug has pretended to be a Black woman in many of their beautiful iterations, most recently, a Puerto Rican scholar from “El Barrio.” She masqueraded not only as an Afro-Latina, but one from “the hood” at that, pinning herself to a neighborhood in the Bronx she, I assume, believed would give her street credibility.
As she admits, throughout the course of her adult life, Krug went from white Jewish woman from Overland Park, Kansas, to one who claimed *checks notes* “North African Blackness, then US rooted Blackness [and] then Caribbean rooted Bronx Blackness.”
She goes on to rightfully call herself a “culture leech,” assert mental health issues, expound on how she sees no future for herself, and provide not one bit of plan for reparation in financial or other forms.
Although Krug did finally acknowledge wrongdoing, author of “Decolonizing Diasporas” Yomaira Figueroa-Vásquez says the big reveal this week was moreso a product of getting caught. “The only reason Jessica Krug finally admitted to this lie is [because] on Aug 26th one very brave very Black Latina junior scholar approached two senior Black Latina scholars & trusted them enough to do the research & back her up,” Figueroa-Vásquez wrote on Twitter. “There was no witch hunt, but there was a need to draw the line.”
Former friends and students of Krug took to social media to express their anger and expand on their unawareness of the history there, as well as, for some, their lack of probing on it. “I felt weird questioning it because, at the time, who lies about being Black,” professor and Krug’s former friend Dr. Akissi Britton wrote.
With Krug’s reveal comes the opportunity to touch on underlying issues of colorism, access to resources, the weaponizing of whiteness, as well as question the need for certain people to be so prominently featured and loud in certain spaces (e.g. race studies). All in all, Latina or not, Jessica Krug is an all-too-familiar example of a toxic Karen.