The New Yorker

THE LAYERED DECEPTIONS OF JESSICA KRUG, THE BLACK STUDIES PROFESSOR WHO HID THAT SHE IS WHITE. At the end of August, a famous white celebrity appeared on Instagram wearing a hair style best known for gracing the heads of Black women. … It was Adele, of the power-ballad tribe, sporting Bantu knots … She was costumed … in gold hoops and a Jamaican-flag bikini top, a collar of yellow feathers about her neck.

Across the pond, a few days later, a woman waved a white flag. The historian Jessica A. Krug, then an associate professor at George Washington University, posted a confession on the publishing platform Medium, last Thursday, explaining that she is not who she’d been claiming to be. “To an escalating degree over my adult life,” she wrote, “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.” Her life and, by extension, her scholarly career—or is it the other way around?—had been based on a lie, she admitted, or rather a glut of them, feeding on good faith like, as Krug put it, “not a culture vulture” but “a culture leech.”

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