“Friends, I need to take accountability for my actions and the harm that I have done. My deception and lies have hurt those I care most about. I have taken up space as a Black person while knowing I am white. I have used Blackness when it was not mine to use. I have asked for support and energy as a Black person. I have caused harm to the city, friends and the work that I held so dear,” Cole, who uses pronouns they and them, posted on a Facebook page under the name Satch Paige.
Questions about the racial identity of Cole, who was born Jennifer Lynn Benton, were first reported by BlackIndyLIVE.com. Benton changed their name to Satchuel Cole in 2010.
Cole did not respond to multiple messages from the Indianapolis Star. A message left Sunday by The Associated Press with DON’T SLEEP, an advocacy group where Cole had served as vice president, wasn’t immediately returned.
It’s not the first time a noted local activist has misled people their racial identity.
Former NAACP chapter leader Rachel Dolezal, who’s white, led people to believe she was Black until questions about her racial identity in 2015. The revelation sparked furious debates about racial identity. She has since changed her name to Nkechi Amare Diallo.
Earlier this month, a white woman who worked as a George Washington University professor confessed to posing as a Black woman. Jessica Krug, who taught African American history, said in a blog post that she had presented herself as Afro Caribbean from New York, but she’s a white Jewish woman from suburban Kansas City.
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