Things That Matter

White Professor Pretended To Be Black And Taught African-American And Latino Studies

As the debate around racial justice and inequality continues to rage throughout the U.S, a white woman has reignited the debate on cultural appropriation and ‘black fishing.’

The woman – a professor at George Washington University – has confessed to faking her identity as a Black woman and using that identity for financial gain with book deals and to teach African American history. She’s also accused of claiming a fabricated Latina heritage by former students.

The story is eerily similar to that of Rachel Dolezal who made similar headlines in 2015 when – as president of a local NAACP chapter – was outed as a white woman pretending to be Black.

A white woman has admitted to faking a Black identity for her entire professional career.

Social media is reacting to the news that a white professor who teaches African, Caribbean, and Latin history pretended to be a Black woman for years. The story has reignited a debate on race and identity and cultural appropriation.

Jessica Krug, who teaches at George Washington University in Washington, DC admitted in a blog post on Medium that for the better part of her adult life, “every move I’ve made, every relationship I’ve formed, has been rooted in the napalm toxic soil of lies.”

She added, “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 US rooted Blackness, then Caribbean rooted Bronx Blackness.”

In many New York activist circles, Krug was known by the name Jessica La Bombalera and was often seen speaking at New York public hearings on police brutality. Those who knew Krug as La Bombalera have taken to social media today to announce their upset.

“I’m dazed and still processing my emotions, but mostly, I feel betrayed, foolish and, in many ways, gaslit,” said the author Robert Jones Jr on Twitter.

She’s also accused of appropriating Latin culture in her speech and discussions.

According to students at GWU, Krug would use a lot of Spanish in her speech. For example, rather than “plantains” she would always say “plátanos.” But the exact place she was from always changed.

She once spoke about how plantains were important to her family in the Dominican Republic, but told another student she was from Puerto Rico, according to students. Still, she never would have guessed Krug was lying.

Krug admits that she financially benefited from faking a Black identity.

When writing her book Fugitive Modernities, Krug accepted financial support from Black cultural institutions such as the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. But according to her own Medium post, her career was rooted in a “toxic soil of lies.”

In her book, which was published before her recent confession, she goes on to say, “My ancestors, unknown, unnamed, who bled life into a future they had no reason to believe could or should exist. My brother, the fastest, the smartest, the most charming of us all. Those whose names I cannot say for their own safety, whether in my barrio, in Angola, or in Brazil.”

Although she points to mental health issues as affecting her, she doesn’t see them as an excuse for her actions.

In the same Medium post, Krug points out that she suffered from a traumatic childhood and has faced several mental health issues. However, she acknowledges that these are not excuses for her behavior.

“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. 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.”

“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,” she wrote.

The story is eerily similar to that of Rachel Dolezal – who also faked being Black for professional gain.

Credit: Tyler Tjomsland / Getty Images

Krug’s confession about her identity is similar to the case of Rachel Dolezal – a white woman from Spokane, Washington – who made headlines in 2015 when she was outed for similar lies.

When Dolezal was outed as a white woman impersonating a Black woman, she was president of the Spokane branch of the NAACP, a civil rights organization, and a a part-time African studies teacher at a local university.

Dolezal, who said she started identifying as Black around the age of five, was a graduate from Howard University, an historically Black college, which she sued in 2002 for discrimination against white people and for favouring African American students.

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Selena Gomez Is Holding Tech And Social Media Accountable After Trump Mob Shuts Down Congress

Things That Matter

Selena Gomez Is Holding Tech And Social Media Accountable After Trump Mob Shuts Down Congress

VALERIE MACON / AFP via Getty Images

A pro-Trump mob stormed Capitol Hill Jan. 6 following months of President Donald Trump and his allies attacking the 2020 elections. Selena Gomez, like most Americans horrified by the attack, spoke out on social media about what happened. She made it clear that part of this falls on tech companies and social media companies.

Selena Gomez called out social media and tech companies for enabling hateful rhetoric.

President Donald Trump and his supporters have used social media to spread misinformation since he was elected in 2016. Americans have watched as President Trump used Twitter to spread falsehoods and conspiracy theories. There have been so many debunked claims that President Trump and his allies have spread with no consequence.

Recently, Twitter started to flag some of President Trump’s tweets as disputed or misleading. It was the first time a social media platform did something that checked President Trump and his rhetoric.

People quickly came to Gomez’s side to uplift her statement.

President Trump has a long history of hateful and dangerous rhetoric on social media. He has misled her supporters with false statements and has incited violence. The president has defended white supremacists on multiple occasions and even retweeted a video of a man shouting white power.

Social media platforms are finally muzzling President Trump with bans and suspensions.

Twitter has put the president on a temporary suspension after he incited the crowd that breached Capitol Hill. Meanwhile, Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg enhanced the original 24-hour ban to a indefinite ban that will last at least until President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration. However, people think it is a little too late for these actions.

“Disinformation and extremism researchers have for years pointed to broader network-based exploitation of these platforms,” Sen. Mark R. Warner, D-Va., said in a statement. “As I have continually said, these platforms have served as core organizing infrastructure for violent, far right groups and militia movements for several years now – helping them to recruit, organize, coordinate and in many cases (particularly with respect to YouTube) generate profits from their violent, extremist content.”

What happened Jan. 6 at the nation’s Capitol was avoidable, but it’s clear who incited this violence.

Congress has officially certified President-elect Biden’s win. What should have been a quick process to certify an election turned into a horrifying scene. It is a day that will always define President Trump’s legacy.

READ: Far-Right Trump Supporters Violently Storm The US Capitol Forcing Lockdown

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She’s A Black Woman Singing Regional Mexican Music With A Perfect Accent, So Why Are People Upset?

Culture

She’s A Black Woman Singing Regional Mexican Music With A Perfect Accent, So Why Are People Upset?

@carne_a_sarah / Twitter

Before you even hear her voice, you’re wrapped up in the imagery. But then you hit play and all you can done is, who is this woman with a voice like the late Tejano star Selena? And what’s her story?

Thankfully, we finally have a story behind the woman taking regional Mexican music to new heights with her perfect renditions of top Mexican classics, hits by Selena and Jenni Rivera, among others.

Sarah La Morena is making headlines for her perfect renditions of popular Mexican classics.

Sarah Palafox, aka Sarah La Morena, has become a phenomenon on social media because of her performances of Mexican songs in a perfect Zacatecan accent. 

In her videos uploaded to Instagram, which have already generated thousands of views, you can see 23-year-old Palafox holding her iPhone while singing ‘Qué me vas a dar’, by Jenni Rivera, accompanied by a mariachi band, as well as other songs she performs with her regional music band from southwestern Mexico. 

The clip of Palafox singing with mariachis spawned a half of million views on Instagram and another 200,000 on Twitter. Other videos of her singing banda — another form of regional music from Mexico’s southwest coast — also have been shared thousands of times.

Palafox’s story represents the American story, one of diversity and overcoming immense challenges.

For Sarah, born in California but raised in Zacatecas, Mexico, by a family of Mexican immigrants, the controversy and burden is nothing new. She’s had to live with it for much of her life.

Like other children born into troubled families, Sarah was separated from her biological mother and placed in a foster home until a Mexican couple offered to give her a home and eventually officially adopted her and moved to Zacatecas, where the girl spent a happy and rural childhood. 

Once in high school, Palafox and her parents returned to California, and there she faced similar disdain because she was a Black girl who did not speak English and felt Mexican. That feeling of others wanting to scrutinize her race and her dual roots led to depression and a suicide attempt a couple of years ago, the artist explained to the Associated Press. 

But there are those who think that an African-American woman cannot sing mariachi and they have made that known.

While some Black users have criticized her for “being ashamed of her Blackness,” Latinos have not been far behind, and Palafox has received all kinds of racist insults and accusations of cultural appropriation in both Spanish and English. 

For California State University Chicano Studies professor Alexandre Jose Granadilla, Sarah La Morena “takes authenticity to a whole new level. Not only is her Spanish better than most Latinos, but she identifies with a town in Zacatecas. She is Mexican and this music is hers,” he told the AP.

Granadilla also emphasized that her music not only represents the shared historical experiences of Mexicans and African-Americans in the United States, but breaks down apparent dichotomies about race.

Palafox confirms that she is working on new music after having signed with LA-based Silent Giant Entertainment and we can’t wait to hear what she puts out next.

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