Michigan Quarterly Review reader Caroline New introduces “The Table” from MQR’s Fall 2021 Issue. You can purchase the issue here. “The Table” offers us testimonies of Writer’s Block, a writing group for presently and formerly incarcerated people. From a bird’s-eye view, this essay reminds us of the inhumanities of our “justice” system, where goals of …
I will be discussing only my own experience, but extrapolating beyond it to make a strong claim about some ill-defined, amorphous group of people whom I imagine to have experiences identical to my own. In other words, I’m writing a personal essay masquerading as a social critique. How very millennial of me.
In my formative years, my perception of a future beyond my parents’ brick rancher was entirely divorced from the concept of intersectionality. Even when life did have certain movie-like qualities (the choppiness of certain flashbacks, the surreal acceptance of a death in the family), they were not the ones I was taught to expect.
I’m not sure how much I was aware of my intention to become a boy. I never verbalized it, and I knew it wasn’t something that was actually possible. I just wanted to be more of a boy than I was a girl. I’m not sure I understand gender very well, even as an adult woman, but as a child, all I saw was that, in a literal way, boys had it better.
We were wrong. It is important to acknowledge that. Wrong, that is, to think, imperiously, that he needed fixing or saving. That is the inherent logic, though, of the multiracial adoptive family, where salvage and repair discourses abound.