Think Twice Before Making That Diabetes Joke
I decided to do a little experiment. I went to the mall and asked strangers a question,
“When I say the word ‘diabetes,’ what is the first thing that pops into your
I got varied responses, but about half of the answers fell into the stigma. What is the stigma, you ask? The stigma is that people with diabetes are overweight, that people with diabetes ate too much sugar, that people with diabetes need to diet.
If we look at the things written down in the picture above, you’ll see about half of them appear to have a decent understanding. Yes, diabetes is an illness and a disease. Yes, for many it does involve needles. Some people thought of a family member who was affected. A couple of people even knew there was more than one type of diabetes.
So where does the problem come in? About half the responses included the word “sugar.” Most disturbingly, upon further discussion I learned this was literally all the knowledge some people had about diabetes.
I’m sure you’ve seen it before on social media. You see a picture of an indulgent dessert, and you click on the comments. “DIABETES,” someone said. You’re reading someone’s Facebook status and it reads, “If John had 20 candy bars, then Joe gave him 2, what does he have now? Diabetes. John has diabetes.” Again, you click on the comments to see that they’re full of “LOLs,” “HAHAHAs,” and praise for the hilarious joke. The thing is… it’s not hilarious. It’s horribly offensive.Diabetes is not a candy bar. Diabetes is a devastating disease that can happen
to anyone. It doesn’t matter Continue reading