Professor of African American history accused of faking Mexican heritage

An assistant professor of African American history resigned from her post after she was outed for allegedly passing herself off as Mexican — in yet another instance of someone faking their race.

An anonymous essay posted Wednesday on Medium accused Kelly Kean Sharp, who taught at Furman University, of faking her heritage by describing herself as Chicana, or an American woman of Mexican descent.

Sharp allegedly told others that her paternal grandmother was from Mexico.

The post, written by someone who said they “distantly known” Sharp when she was a PhD student at University of California, Davis, said genealogical records proved none of Sharp’s grandparents were “born outside of the US or had Hispanic names.”

Sharp’s Twitter account, which has since been deleted, identified her as “#Chicana Asst prof of African American history at @FurmanU,” according to a screenshot on the blog post.

The Greenville, South Carolina, university confirmed to the Greenville News that Sharp resigned Wednesday after university officials became aware of the allegations the day before.

“All I can say is that we are disappointed to have learned of these allegations,” spokesman Tom Evelyn told the outlet. “We expect members of our community to be honest in the way they represent themselves to others.”

Sharp had been working for the school since Aug. 1, with a biography on Furman’s site — which has also been removed — saying she taught African studies and history at Luther College in Iowa for two years.

The Medium post, penned by a user called “producing whiteness,” also included screenshots from some of Sharp’s 2,791 tweets, including one where she identified her grandmother as her “abuela.”

Sharp did not immediately return a message left at a number listed for her.

She joins a growing list of academics accused of lying about their racial backgrounds, including the most recent, Craig Chapman, a University of New Hampshire professor who allegedly passed himself off as an immigrant woman of color online.

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