In September, we covered the story of a George Washington University professor who claimed to be black and resigned after it was revealed she was white. We then covered a nearly identical story about a doctoral student at UW-Madison.

Now we bring you the story of Kelly Kean Sharp, who recently resigned from Furman University after it was revealed that she is white, but has been identifying as Chicana. Why does this keep happening?

Colleen Flaherty reports at Inside Higher Ed:

Even More White Lies

Another week, another unmasking of a white professor allegedly posing as a person of color: this time it’s Kelly Kean Sharp, a scholar of African American history who resigned abruptly Tuesday from her assistant professorship at Furman University.

Like other apparent racial fraudsters before her, Sharp was outed by an anonymous post on Medium. The writer of the post identifies him or herself as having “distantly” known Sharp when she was graduate student at the University of California, Davis. Sharp had never publicly identified as Latinx back then, the writer said, so they were recently puzzled to learn that Sharp had since started referring to herself as Chicana, including on her now-private Twitter profile. According to screenshots included in the post, Sharp has tweeted about her abuela, or grandmother, from Mexico, and posted elsewhere about her “abuela who came to the U.S. during WWII who worked hard so I could become a teacher.”

The writer said they started talking to others who knew Sharp, and these colleagues were similarly “confused.” Some then allegedly asked Sharp about the “newfound identity,” and Sharp allegedly said her grandmother was originally from Mexico. Yet when the scholars looked into that explanation, “we found that Kelly had no grandparents who were born outside of the U.S. or had Hispanic names.”

Here’s an excerpt from the anonymous post on Medium:

Kelly Kean Sharp: Chicana?

I have watched the unmasking of CV Vitolo and Jessica Krug from afar. But when an old friend pointed me to the twitter bio of Dr. Kelly Kean Sharp, currently an Assistant Professor at Furman University, I now had a similar example on the edges of my own circles. I had distantly known Kelly while she was a PhD student at University of California, Davis, and was more than surprised to find out that she 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…

She has made numerous tweets further implying Chicana identity, attaching various hashtags to communicate this identity, like #Chicana, #Chicanapride, and #Chingonasunite. Were these hashtags meant to further promote this claimed identity as a Chicana Assistant Professor? Even more, in one tweet Dr. Kean Sharp referenced the cooking habits of her “abuela” and in another she claimed this “abuela” came to the United States during WWII and “worked hard” to make Kelly’s career possible.

News of Sharp’s outing and departure has not gone unnoticed on Twitter:

Perhaps we need a new ‘studies’ department dedicated to the study of this phenomenon.

Featured image via YouTube.

 

 
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