A scholar of African American history at Furman University has resigned after an anonymous post on Medium claimed she was not Chicana, as she claimed.
Kelly Kean Sharp resigned after an anonymous writer who said he or she had “distantly known” Sharp when she was getting her doctorate at the University of California. The writer said he or she was “more than surprised to find out that [Sharp] was now describing herself as Chicana.”
“This discovery led to multiple conversations and a flurry of research on the part of people who had known Kelly at UC Davis. They approached me to help publicize her fabrication and strategic use of a Chicana identity. Though it remains unknown exactly when she took on this persona and how much she has used it professionally, many who previously knew her are quite confused. She had only ever identified as a non-Hispanic white woman as far as they knew. Allegedly, when some colleagues asked about her newfound identity she claimed that her paternal grandmother had been from Mexico,” the person wrote.
Those looking into Sharp searched genealogical records and discovered she “had no grandparents who were born outside of the United States or had Hispanic names.”
The writer included screenshots to several posts from Sharp about her “abuela,” whom she claimed, “came to the U.S. during WWII who worked hard so I could become a teacher.”
Further, the writer looked into Sharp’s Furman faculty biography, which claimed she was inspired to research the antebellum South because she grew up in Encinitas, California, which she said had a “majority-minority population.” In reality, 2010 census data shows Encinitas’ population is 85% white.
Inside Higher Ed reached out to Furman after the Medium post was published and was told the university was investigating the matter on Tuesday. Later that day, the outlet was told Sharp had resigned.
Sharp appears to be the third white scholar in as many months to resign after a Medium post accused them as posing as a person of color. As The Daily Wire previously reported, University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate student CV Vitolo-Haddad resigned from her teaching position after admitting she was not a person of color:
Vitolo-Haddad’s troubles began on September 4, when an anonymous person on Medium accused the graduate student of falsely identifying as black and continually changing their story on their family history.
“Though their claim to a POC identity was vague, the one consistency was their insistence that they were a constant target of acts of racism and that they came from some kind of nonwhite background. They referenced it frequently on social media and in interpersonal conversations,” the anonymous person wrote. “Their stories lacked coherence, but they intimated an insider status that made (and makes) people hesitant to question them.”
Vitolo-Haddad published her own Medium post admitting to deceiving students and writing, “so deeply sorry for the ways you are hurting right now because of me.”
“I have let guesses about my ancestry become answers I wanted but couldn’t prove. I have let people make assumptions when I should have corrected them,” Vitolo-Haddad added.
Before Vitolo-Haddad, a tenured African History professor at George Washington University resigned while being investigated for masquerading as a black woman, The Daily Wire’s Eric Quintanar reported. The Medium post outing Krug was written by someone using her name, though it is still unclear if Krug herself wrote the post.
“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,” the post said. “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.”
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