PRAIRIE VILLAGE, KS (KCTV) — Her name was one of the biggest topics on social media today: Jessica Krug. Krug, an associate professor of African American history, admits she’s been pretending to be Black for her entire career.
She’s from right here in the metro, so KCTV5’s Betsy Webster has been digging into her local past all day long – and joins us live in prairie village with what she’s found.
Her family told Webster she grew up in Overland Park and, although at a young age she was passionate about Black and Native American rights, her identity then was as a white Jewish girl.
Her bat mitzvah was held at Ohev Sholom.
They said they had no idea she had been passing herself off as Black until calls came flooding in from news media.
Last year, Jessica Krug spoke on a Columbia University panel about the African diaspora.
She’s an associate history professor at George Washington University in D.C.
The relatives Webster spoke to had to squint to recognize her, saying she stopped communicating with her family years ago and even failed to show for her mom’s funeral seven years ago.
She made her announcement today on a blog platform and titled it, “The Truth, and the Anti-Black Violence of My Lies.”
Krug had plenty to say herself about why her lie was harmful. “Doing so is the very epitome of violence, of thievery and appropriation,” she wrote. “I am not a culture vulture. I am a culture leech.”
She wrote that she changed the specifics of her purported Black roots over the years from North African to Caribbean. She said no explanation could excuse her but also said: “The mental health professionals from whom I have been so belatedly seeking help assure me that this is a common response to some of the severe trauma that marked my early childhood and teen years.“
The relatives we spoke with weren’t aware of any trauma.
They said she attended Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy until high school, then transferred to and graduated from The Barstow School, an elite private school in South Kansas City.
Webster checked and George Washington University still lists her as an associate professor on their website, with two courses scheduled for the fall semester in African and Latin American history.
In her post, Krug made a reference to so-called “cancel culture.” She said, “You should absolutely cancel me, and I absolutely cancel myself.” However, she didn’t go so far as to say she was stepping down from her position.
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