From time to time, I write about how “white women need to stop”, but this particular story is genuinely disturbing. It appears as though a white Jewish woman named Jessica Krug has “assumed various black identities.”
You’ve probably heard about entertainers blackfishing, but this woman is part of the academic world, so her grift was considered significantly more distasteful. Krug, while pretending to be black, actually became a professor at GW University. What did she teach? African history.
She wrote out a Medium post, which seems like it was written very quickly. One of the most disgusting aspects of the post is that it wastes no time blaming “mental health demons”, which now seems to be the de-facto excuse for almost anything.
While I am sure that Krug has mental health issues, framing it in this way helps her avoid any real accountability. This woman has taken grant money that black women could have used. She’s gotten book deals. She’s won awards for her work, which heightened her profile and led to her networking with prominent black scholars.
Why This Is More Terrible Than Usual
If you’re lying about being black, you are a terrible person. There shouldn’t be a debate about this. However, many noted that she seemed to “shop around” for a black identity for a while. She admits in the post that she eventually settled on “Caribbean-rooted Bronx blackness” as if her upbringing is an avatar that she can change at will.
Why is this terrible? It’s because she was so effective. We all know that there are entertainers who benefit from remaining ethnically ambiguous or flirt with exotic styles and looks in order to appeal to new demographics. This is nothing new. It’s one thing for an artist to attempt to pivot to a more “urban” (music industry language for black) audience. It’s much different for a woman to be writing about being black, and getting paid to write about black culture, while never having been black. She made this her…