A white professor who teaches “politics, ideas, and cultural practices in Africa and the African Diaspora” at George Washington University outed herself on Thursday in yet another scenario à la Rachel Dolezal. Jessica A. Krug, who for years went by the name Jessica La Bombera, admitted to pretending to be Black throughout her career in a lengthy essay she published on Medium.
Krug, who did not appear to apologise for assuming “identities within a Blackness that I had no right to claim,” writes that she appropriated races including “North African Blackness, then US rooted Blackness, then Caribbean rooted Bronx Blackness.” Krug also did not show remorse for causing harm to people close to her by lying about her identity and then gaslighting those who questioned her. She does, however, seem to understand that pretending to be a Black woman is a form of anti-Black violence, and asserts, “I am a coward,” adding, “You should absolutely cancel me, and I absolutely cancel myself.” But acknowledging the violence of her actions doesn’t absolve her of it.
In her post, Krug confesses she is actually a white Jewish woman from suburban Kansas City, despite a previous author bio in which she described herself as “an unrepentant and unreformed child of the hood.” Krug says she lied about her identity as a result of “unaddressed mental health demons” resulting from the trauma of abuse she says occurred in her early childhood and into her teens. “But this isn’t trauma that anyone imposed on me, this is harm that I have enacted onto so many others,” she says about pretending to be Black.
However, it appears Krug's level of deception went as far as appropriating the likeness and language of a race that's faced mass discrimination — even in light of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Most people are unimpressed by her admission. “It truly boggles the mind that in an age where everything is filmed or streamed and thrown up on the internet, it took this long for Krug to be shown for the white person that she is,” Shannon Melero writes.
Nadirah Simmons, a social media manager for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert pointed to the irony of Krug having academic expertise in imperialism and colonialism, while others were quick to point out similarities between her and Rachel Dolezal, the former president of the NAACP's Spokane, Washington chapter who was outed by her parents in 2015 for pretending to be Black.
Krug’s actions have caused serious harm, as author Adrienne Lawrence pointed out. “The deceit perpetuated by Jessica Krug has real consequences. She took opportunities away from qualified Black professionals—grants, scholarships, lecturing positions. To allow her to keep all that she stole would be wrong. As a GW alumna, I do hope the school takes action,” wrote Lawrence.
George Washington University has yet to comment on the matter, though it's hard to imagine that Krug, who has asked to be "canceled," will remain a faculty member all things considered. And despite her attempt to feign humility by outing herself, many reported that colleagues close to Krug were prepared to do so, pushing her over the edge to take responsibility.