Combating ignorant comments

Hi All,

I know educating people is the best way to combat ignorant comments about diabetes, specifically type 1 diabetes in my case, but I feel like a broken record sometimes. I’m more than a little frustrated by some recent status updates made by people in my network of “social media friends” lately. For some reason people think it’s ok to use diabetes as a punch line in their ignorant jokes. Cancer isn’t funny, nor is Muscular Dystrophy, HIV, Hemophilia, Lupus, etc., why is diabetes so funny?

Rather than be the broken record, or get into passive aggressive social media comments (which is my natural instinct lol.), I want to know…

What do you want people to know about your life with type 1 diabetes, you know the unfunny parts?

I don’t find the comments too harsh… usually jokes are just jokes, and as a 24 year old white male I find there aren’t enough things making fun of me… I’m happy to be made fun of for being diabetic, as it makes poking my finger, and poking fun at others, more acceptable… also, no news is bad news: people who were once ignorant, misinformed or just looking for more info may wikipedia diabetes to find out more about it.

People who don’t have a chronic disease like my T1, don’t “get it” when it comes to what I actually deal with, or how they should talk about it. I honestly hope they never get T1 and “get it”. Because they would never really “get it” unless they had T1 and I don’t wish that on anyone.

Maybe I’ve developed a thick skin over the past 30 years with regards to stupid jokes etc. Either that or public awareness of the disease as a whole as improved in that time.

I haven’t heard any diabetes jokes, or nasty comments yet, maybe I’m lucky? On the other hand, I’ve made some jokes about my condition with those closest to me as in – “Yeah, I can have that sugary treat or drink with you, if you call ahead for an ambulance to pick me up when I’m done.”

I’m very open about having type 1. Since I’ve been diagnosed (6/7/10), I’ve written about it on my blog, posted pictures of bruises on my stomach from injections, shown my children (4 & 6) how I give myself injections and measure my BG. I’ve told anyone at work and outside of work that I am friendly with about what I have, what I have to do to treat myself. I have a jar of honey on my desk and have posted information about hypoglycemia. I’ve mentioned this fabulous site as well. All of this volunteered information has been met with wonder and lots of “sorrys,” but I always counter the latter with a smile and say “well this I can do, there are much worse conditions I could have.”

Doesn’t bother me in the least in fact, I’m usually the one making the joke. Remember “Laughter is the best medicine”. I also don’t let a lot of people know- it’s on a “need to know” basis unless I’m in a talkative mood.

I have at times asked people if they would be making fun of me if I had cancer and it usually stops the comments but most often I ignore them or tell them I am lucky to have a disease that will not kill me and am blessed that I can live a normal life with all the modern advances of today. I have been a type 1 for 48 years now so I have seen many changes, hang in there. Laura

Unless a cure happens in our lifetime! :wink:

Count me in – I want to stop just short of worshipping the porcelain god!

Whenever I’m directly subjected to an ignorant or insensitive joke I call them on it. I’ve even called my mother on it.

Sometimes it makes me look like a wet blanket, I suppose, but unless you stop people and get them to think about what they’ve said, it’ll just go on.

It’s not like I look for ways to get offended, but when it happens, speak up.


I haven’t experienced much of this, but I would probably correct them the first time and ignore them after that. I firmly believe in educating people, but there’s so sense in investing yourself if it’s going to be fruitless.

There’s just too much ignorance out there, period. Diabetes, for how common it is, is poorly understood. People think it’s a tough disease just because you have to inject yourself and prick your finger. They have no idea that that is the easy part…

Heard many insensitive & ignorant statements about diabetes, but not jokes. I’d say something just as I do about jokes that are racist or sexist. The “lighten up, it’s just a joke” response when you say something is offensive, doesn’t cut it.

As for trying to educate the ignorant, it depends on my mood. I keep it short & simple. No one wants to hear a speech.

I have one particular friend that keeps referring to my diagnoses as “my disease,” ie. "You should be honored Bret Michaels has your disease. I shrug it off, but my friend is also notorious for trying to be funny in front of a group of people. He’ll also say things like, “Who wants a shot/beer minus Liz?”

I think there is a huge difference between me making fun of myself and others broadcasting the fact that I’m diabetic. It should be my choice to tell people.

It’s not my disease. It’s my “difficulty” that effects me morning, noon, and night. I’M NOT DYING. I CAN EAT SUGAR. That’s what I’d like people to know, on the upside I guess.


If they don;t ask, I don’t tell.

If they unfurl their weirdo, idiotic, ignorant comments at my feet, they are open to receiing my “return fire”. Stupidity must be fought, or too often it wins!

I have not heard any jokes and I do try to educate people around me about my Diabetes in case something happens to me (like passing out). I have found that people without T! really don’t have a clue as to what it is but a couple of times when I was in the Hospital I had to explain certain things to the nurses! I was stunned at what some of them did not know about T1.

One thing that really embarrased me was when I was giving a meeting since I am a Director of our group. Someone asked if I needed sugar. I asked why and they responded that I was acting funny and that they thought that I should have some sugar. I was not in a low at all and felt perfectly fine and told them so. For some reason this really bothered me like it was giving license for someone to say that I was acting strangely just because I had Diabetes. This person could have pulled me aside and asked me if I was o.k. which would have been better but it would still upset me…

Sometimes people make a joke out of something they do not understand…I guess it’s some sort of a defense mechanism. I have not heard much “diabetic jokes” but encountered numerous misinformations (from friends, media, etc.) Many many times I have tried rectifying misinformations and erroneous claims…some genuinely express interest and sinked in, some are totally clueless and arrogant or simply doesnt care. First thing I look for when educating somebody is “the willingness to listen”. At least from there I know somehow my “speech” is not futile…

Laughing is best medicine - better than insulin - lifes too short to suffer at the hands of others ignorance - just look past it and laugh

I think social media friends can be more careless and insensitive and even cruel than friends in the “real” world. Its so easy on line to say stuff quickly, and nobody is in your face right away. You can’t hear that nobody thinks you’re funny.

Except when the silence is deafening… :slight_smile:

“Yes, I can eat that.”

I appreciate the concern, but I take good enough care of myself that when I have something small, I don’t need 32 mothers stopping me to ask if it is ok.

LOL! I know, one is more than enough, isn’t it?