Jessica Krug is an author, activist, and professor of African and Latin American studies, who has spoken and written in great personal detail about her black identity. In her bio she has described herself as an “unrepentant and unreformed child of the hood.” The only problem is that the hood was, apparently, a suburb in Missouri. And when she called herself African and black all those years, what she really meant to say is that she’s white and Jewish.
In a lengthy confession posted to Medium yesterday, titled “The Truth, and the Anti-Black Violence of My Lies,” Krug lays it all bare:
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. 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. People have fought together with me and have fought for me, and my continued appropriation of a Black Caribbean identity is not only, in the starkest terms, wrong — unethical, immoral, anti-Black, colonial — but it means that every step I’ve taken has gaslighted those whom I love.
Two questions are raised here:
1) If all of the privilege in America belongs to white people, then why would a white person reject that identity and assume a less privileged one? According to the Left and Krug herself, Krug is not the only white person to fraudulently assume black identities. Rachel Dolezal is an obvious example. But we are also told that white people are constantly appropriating from black culture, which is why blackness must now be zealously guarded from the agents of whiteness, who threaten at any moment to break into the fortress and steal a hairstyle or cultural fashion or whatever else. But why would this be a problem in a systemically racist country? Is there any historical example where an oppressed group is also at the same time so admired and sought after that one of their biggest problems is how the oppressors want so badly to adopt their styles and customs?
2) Perhaps more to the point, why exactly can’t Krug identify as black? Why isn’t her self-identity legitimate? If she says she feels like a black woman, and identifies most strongly with that community, who is to say she’s wrong? Well, I can say she’s wrong. Anyone who rejects the notion of gender fluidity can say she’s wrong, as we believe that a person’s fundamental identity is not something that can be changed on a whim. It is not subjective. Our perception of ourselves may be subjective, but our identity itself — our biology and the demographics to which we belong — are simply facts, no matter how we feel about them. But that’s not the position the Left takes. They say that a woman might be born a woman, with a female body, female DNA, female bone structure, and yet if she finds within herself some sort of vague, undefinable feeling of maleness, then she is a man. So what if she finds a vague, undefinable feeling of blackness? Why is she not then black?
You might argue that she cannot really “feel” black because she doesn’t know how black people feel. To say that she knows it because she feels it is circular reasoning, begging the question. That’s true, but the same applies to gender. Or you could answer that our race is not a changeable part of us. We’re born with it. Again true, but again I point you back to the man/woman dichotomy. The same applies there. You might say that it’s offensive for a white woman to call herself black. She’s making a caricature of that identity and claiming what doesn’t belong to her. Again, true. And again, the same applies to a woman’s appropriation of manhood or man’s of womanhood.
There simply is no valid argument for denying a white person’s right to be black but not a woman’s right to be a man or a man’s right to be a woman. In fact, terms like “fluid” and “socially constructed” apply much more to race than to gender. If either race or gender can make a claim to being “on a spectrum” and easily changeable, certainly the case that race can make for itself would be quite a bit more persuasive. It is not that race actually is a social construct, but that gender is so totally and absolutely not constructed that turning it into a construct automatically removes the foundation for calling anything else objective and immutable. Even the objectivity of our age and species are called into question by the arbitrary subjectification of gender. So, the Left must make a choice. Either accept Jessica Krug as the black woman she has always felt herself to be, or admit that our physical identity is not formed by, and cannot be changed by, our emotions.
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