South Carolina professor 'posed' as Chicana, resigns from Furman University after allegation surfaces online

'Kelly had no grandparents who were born outside of the United States or had Hispanic names'


                            South Carolina professor 'posed' as Chicana, resigns from Furman University after allegation surfaces online
Kelly Kean Sharp (Twitter)

GREENVILLE, SOUTH CAROLINA: A professor, allegedly posing as Chicana resigned from Furman University after an anonymous online post accused of her lying about her Mexican heritage. In an essay posted to Medium, the assistant professor was identified as Kelly Kean Sharp. In the essay, Sharp is said to have been pretending to be Chicana — an American woman with Mexican heritage.

“I have watched the unmasking of CV Vitolo and Jessica Krug from afar,” the post begins, referring to the White teachers who have lied about their race. “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,” the Medium post goes on. The essay showed screenshots from Sharp's Twitter account which described her as a 'Chicana' assistant professor. Kelly had mentioned her 'abuela', who she said came to the United States from Mexico during World War II. Sharp’s Twitter account, @sharphistorian, has now been deleted. 

The writer, who had posted on Medium asserted that they had 'distantly' known Sharp when she attended the University of California, Davis. "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,” the writer said. “They approached me to help publicize her fabrication and strategic use of a Chicana identity.”

The lengthy research brought some strange revelations. "We found that Kelly had no grandparents who were born outside of the United States or had Hispanic names. This is much more in line with how Kelly identified at UC, Davis. The maternal grandmother who she claimed was from Mexico, was born in LA to White parents and was residing in the US during all the census records of her upbringing. A servant was even employed and living at the home according to census records. This grandmother eventually married a wealthy, White lawyer from Iowa," the post read.

They finally drew some conclusions about her real roots. "She comes from the city of Encinitas, known to anyone from California for being a wealthy beach community, essentially a White suburb north of San Diego. On her current faculty bio page for Furman University, she highlights this background, even claiming that this hometown has a “majority-minority population”. Supposedly growing up in this White minority town inspired her to study the antebellum US South, because it too had a majority-minority population," the post continued.

Sharp’s bio is no longer on Furman U’s website as of October 31, but the Greenville News states that she had graduated from Williamette University before getting her masters and doctorate from UC, Davis. She resigned on October 28. "All I can say is that we are disappointed to have learned of these allegations," Tom Evelyn, a spokesperson for the college, said. "We expect members of our community to be honest in the way they represent themselves to others."

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