Author Jessica Krug on pretending to be Black: ‘I am a culture leech’

Jessica Krug confessed in a Medium post that she pretended to be Black because of teenage 'trauma' and mental illness

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Dr. Jessica A. Krug is a white woman who has spent her career pretending to be Black and has now offered a mea culpa for appropriating the culture for her own gain.

Krug is Jewish and was raised in suburban Kansas but that is not how she presented herself as to the world. In a Medium post entitled “The Truth, and the Anti-Black Violence of My Lies” published on Thursday, she admitted to adopting Black identities and claims the foundation of her adult life was built “in the napalm toxic soil of lies.”

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Jessica Krug Black author
Jessica Krug (Credit: Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation)

Krug pretended to be descended from North Africa, the US, and the Caribbean and confessed to building “my life on a violent anti-Black lie, and I have lied in every breath I have taken.” She used Blackness to speak from a position of authority as a professor of African studies.

Her alleged knowledge of the diaspora was also the basis of the book “Fugitive Modernities: Kisama and the Politics of Freedom” which delved into the history of 3.5 million people being shipped from the ports of West Africa.

“I have not only claimed these identities as my own when I had absolutely no right to do so — when doing so is the very epitome of violence, of thievery and appropriation, of the myriad ways in which non-Black people continue to use and abuse Black identities and cultures — but I have formed intimate relationships with loving, compassionate people who have trusted and cared for me when I have deserved neither trust nor caring,” Krug wrote.

Krug acknowledged that her deceit was “unethical, immoral, anti-Black, colonial” and that she engaged in gaslighting those closest to her, many of whom were of African and Black descent. She claims mental illness motivated some of her behavior.

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“To say that I clearly have been battling some unaddressed mental health demons for my entire life, as both an adult and child, is obvious,” she continued.

“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; 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 went on to label herself as a “culture vulture. I am a culture leech,” for claiming proximity to Blackness when she had no ancestral right. She admits that until now, she didn’t share the truth because she’s a “coward,” and insists she deserves to be canceled.

Jessica Krug Black author
Jessica Krug (Credit: Duke University Press)

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She also asked that those who were hurt by her actions not to judge or doubt themselves.

“To everyone who trusted me, who fought for me, who vouched for me, who loved me, who is feeling shock and betrayal and rage and bone marrow deep hurt and confusion, violation in this world and beyond: I beg you, please, do not question your own judgment or doubt yourself,” she declared.

“You were not naive. I was audaciously deceptive. I have a very clear, loud conscience, but I have acted as if I had none.”

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