The George Washington University Department of History has called on an associate professor to quit or be fired, following the professor’s revelation that she has lied for years about being Black.
Jessica A. Krug revealed her deception earlier this week in a confession. Although she’s Jewish and was raised in suburban Kansas City, Krug has variously claimed North African, African-American, and Carribean heritage.
This isn’t the first time someone has pretended to be Black, of course.
Five years ago or so, Rachel Dolezal did it, rising to lead the Spokane branch of the NAACP before being exposed as white.
Dolezal’s case was a little different, however, in large part because of Krug’s job and some of her unbidden public posturing. Krug has said she was “of the hood,” among many other claims, but it is her academic standing that makes her case outrageous.
It isn’t like Krug is a math teacher. No, her specialties in the GW history department were areas like African-American history, Africa, Latin America and colonialism/imperialism. And she’s a finalist for both the Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass book prizes.
Krug wrote on Medium.com that she has mental health issues, but said those problems aren’t to blame for her deception:
“But mental health issues can never, will never, neither explain nor justify, neither condone nor excuse, that, in spite of knowing and regularly critiquing any and every non-Black person who appropriates from Black people, my false identity was crafted entirely from the fabric of Black lives. That I claimed belonging with living people and ancestors to whom and for whom my being is always a threat at best and a death sentence at worst,” she wrote on Medium.
In the end, I feel sorry for Krug. I have no real clue what makes people do things like this. Maybe she misguidedly thought at some point that she might gain a career advantage in her chosen field of study. I just don’t know.
As someone who works in academia and has racially-mixed family members, I am sort of offended by Krug. But more than anything, I guess I just think the human race is strange, and many times, not particularly appealing.