Image description: An intersection with words at each corner: ‘hello?’ ‘anyone listening?’ ‘is it just me?’ and ‘am I alone here?’
“I want to know how often you are accused of shoplifting, when you are still in the store, because you are putting stuff in your bag.”
I told her that I’ve never had that happen. I’ve had people tell me that I shouldn’t be buying what I’m buy either because it’s sweet or because they think it’s frivolous and a waste of benefit dollars. But I’ve never been accused of shoplifting while still in the store.
She told me that it happened to her all the time. “People in scooters have their baskets, but I can’t use a basket, I need to use a bag. I get stopped at least once or twice a week with people assuming I’m stealing.”
“That’s horrible,” I said.
“Being black and disabled, I get the worst of every bad stereotype.”
We chatted how my weight had people commenting on my shopping and, she at a different intersection, gets something entirely different even though we were performing the exact same behaviour.
She said she’d been waiting to see someone who shopped like she did, someone a bit bigger, she said kindly, someone who used a bag, and when she saw me she had to ask.
After our brief chat I told her that, oddly, I felt better. She said that she did too.
I wonder why we don’t talk more about disability as an experience in multiple diversities, more often.
Intersections? A great place to stop for a chat.