Across the pond, a few days later, a woman waved a white flag. The historian Jessica A. Krug, then an associate professor at George Washington University, posted a confession on the publishing platform Medium, last Thursday, explaining that she is not who she’d been claiming to be. “To an escalating degree over my adult life,” she wrote, “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.” Her life and, by extension, her scholarly career—or is it the other way around?—had been based on a lie, she admitted, or rather a glut of them, feeding on good faith like, as Krug put it, “not a culture vulture” but “a culture leech.”
But it could have been worse: evidently too swarthy for Karl Marx’ taste, his fellow “traveller” Ferdinand Lasalle was referred to by Marx as a “Jewish n—–.” (How BLM people can claim to be Marxists with this fact is beyond me.) The ultimate irony in all this is that Karl Marx was frequently referred to by his friends and family as “the Moor” because his own swarthy appearance made him look North African!
Speaking of North Africa, in his last years Marx’ health was very poor, and he actually made a trip to Algeria to try to improve it. Around that time he told his daughter the story of the philosopher who hired a boatman and a boat to take him across the river.
“Do you know history?” asked the philosopher.
“No,” replied the boatman.
“Then you’ve wasted half your life.”
They went a little further. “Have you studied mathematics?” the philosopher asked.
“No,” the boatman replied again.
“Then you’ve wasted more than half your life.”
A storm came up and the boat capsized, throwing both of them in the water.
“Can you swim?” asked the boatman.
“No,” replied the philosopher.
“Then you have wasted the whole of your life,” the boatman replied.
In the midst of all our political posturing, it’s important not to waste our whole life.