Jessica Krug, also known as Jess La Bombalera, is a white woman, writer and associate professor of history at George Washington who has admitted to pretending to be Black. Krug exposed herself in a Medium essay titled, “The Truth, and the Anti-Black Violence of My Lies” posted on September 3.
The 38-year-old Krug asked for people to cancel her, saying, “I am not a culture vulture. I am a culture leech.” Krug said she grew up as a white Jewish child in Kansas City but has assumed various Black identities throughout adulthood.
“To an escalating degree over my adult life, 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 U.S. rooted Blackness, then the Caribbean rooted Bronx Blackness,” she wrote in the Medium post. “I have not only claimed these identities as my own when I had absolutely no right to do so.”
Krug, who taught six classes at George Washington University, is a historian of “politics, ideas, and cultural practices in Africa and the African Diaspora,” her page reads. “She is deeply interested in intellectual histories of those who never wrote documents and the use of embodied knowledge for both research and teaching.”
Krug’s 2018 book, Fugitive Modernities: Politics and Identity Outside the State in Kisama, Angola, and the Americas, was published through Duke University Press. Krug, who graduated with a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2012, is planning on releasing a second, Fathers of No Nation.
Heavy reached out the George Washington University and Krug for comment but did not immediately hear back.
Here’s what you need to know about Jessica Krug:
1. Krug Says She’s Been Struggling With Mental Health Issues
So a white Jewish woman from Kansas City has been lying her whole adult life by pretending to be black.
The Truth, and the Anti-Black Violence of My Lies by Jessica A. Krug https://t.co/rw8yVqlPfP
— Karen Attiah (@KarenAttiah) September 3, 2020
At the beginning of her essay, Krug said she has gaslighted the people she loved. Krug then wrote she has struggled with “mental health demons” throughout her life.
“Mental health issues likely explain why I assumed a false identity initially, as a youth, and why I continued and developed it for so long,” she wrote. “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.”
Krug said her mental health didn’t justify her appropriation of Black culture, adding she was a “culture leech.”
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.
2. Krug Refers To Herself As a Coward
Weird story of the day: Jessica Krug, a white woman from Kansas, has been pretending to be Black for her entire professional career, and now she’s apologizing for it:
— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) September 3, 2020
Two times in the essay, Krug called herself a coward.
“I have thought about ending these lies many times over many years, but my cowardice was always more powerful than my ethics. I know right from wrong. I know history. I know power,” she wrote. “I am a coward.”
Then she said it a second time. “I am a coward,” Krug penned. “There is no ignorance, no innocence, nothing to claim, nothing to defend. I have moved wrong in every way for years.”
3. Krug Belives in Cancel Culture & Says She Should Be Canceled
Turns out that online AfroLatina activist Jess La Bombera from the Bronx is actually real-life culture vulture & white woman Jessica Krug from Kansas.
All we are is a tan, some hoops, & a shitty accent—we’re nothing but costumes to some of y’all.
Discover your own personhood. pic.twitter.com/CPw4bnTk7e
— AnaYelsi Velasco-Sanchez (@brwneyedamzn) September 3, 2020
Krug wants to take accountability for what she’s done, and wrote that this should result in her being canceled.
“I believe in restorative justice, where possible, even when and where I don’t know what that means or how it could work,” Krug said. “I believe in accountability. And I believe in cancel culture as a necessary and righteous tool for those with less structural power to wield against those with more power.”
She continued, “I should absolutely be canceled. No. I don’t write in passive voice, ever, because I believe we must name power. So. You should absolutely cancel me, and I absolutely cancel myself.”
The professor does not expect anyone to forgive her, and she’s not asking them to.
“There are no words in any language to express the depth of my remorse, but then again: there shouldn’t be,” she wrote. “Words are never the point.”
“But I can’t fix this. I have burned every bridge and have no expectation that any of my relationships are flame resistant,” she continued. “I would never ask for nor expect forgiveness. I long to repair my relationships on whatever terms those whom I’ve harmed need, but only those whom I have harmed can decide if they are willing.”
4. Social Media Users Have Compared Her To Rachel Dolezal
— Taylor Harris (@ladytiamoyo) September 3, 2020
Some social media users compared Krug to Rachel Dolezal, the former president of the NAACP chapter in Spokane, Washington, who claims she is “transracial.”
One of those people were Bad Feminist writer Roxane Gay, who tweeted, “Wait. Rachel Dolezal has a sister named Jessica Krug? How many more of these people are out there other than Talcum X?”
“And I think this apology is BS. The self-flagellation is absurd and a performance. I believe in apologies and redemption. This one checks all the boxes, says the right things but it doesn’t feel genuine,” she continued. “And I actually don’t care. I’ve never heard of this person. I think her lie is weird. And pathetic. I will forget about this in an hour. It’s just such a self serving apology. Oh well.”
5. Krug Testified Before the New York City Council in June
Using the Jess La Jess La Bombalera alias, Krug testified before the New York City Council on June 9, 2020, as noted by News One. Krug used a fake accent, as shown in a YouTube video.
“So I got a couple of things to say and when y’all tell me my time stops, f*** out of here,” she says in part of the video. “I also want to call out these white New Yorkers, who waited for hours to speak with us and did not yield their time to black and brown indigenous New Yorkers.”
She went on to talk about racial inequality and gentrification and called to abolish the New York Police Department. “The police are a colonial occupation force,” she said. “If the city is for us, the NYPD cannot stay.”