Perspective: Identity Theft Through The Ages

Aug 27, 2019

My sister has had her identity stolen numerous times, and I’d wager you know people who have also experienced it, if you haven’t yourself. “Identity theft” seems like a modern phrase, yet when you stop and think about it, identities have been systematically stolen throughout history. 

In Australia, it was the stolen generation -- indigenous children removed from their families to be raised by the immigrants and their descendants who invaded and settled there. Similar violations occurred in North America, along with mass, forced relocations of adults and children. 

In August 400 years ago, the first group of Africans arrived in what is now the state of Virginia to be sold as property to the colonists. I credit The New York Times for their recent coverage of this landing and the chain of events and mindsets it set forth, in particular, institutionalized racism. 

I don't know if enslavement robs a person of their identity. Maybe that core kernel remains intact, but as intended, it tears down the unique cultural constructs central to a sense of belonging. 

The image of this country as the land of the free, welcoming the tired and the poor, has been shaky from the start, but under our current president and his supporters, the image is shattering into a homogeneous reality that shakes me to the core of my own identity. 

I'm Paula Garrett and that’s my perspective.