Did you know there are some people who have lung cancer who have never smoked a cigarette in their lives?
It's true. Some people have a genetic susceptibility to lung cancer, and nobody knows quite what set it off. But when they tell people they have lung cancer, the assumption is that they brought it on themselves.
Lung cancer is cancer, just as much as breast cancer is cancer. But it's a lot harder to raise money for lung cancer, because there's the perception that for everyone who gets lung cancer, there was some kind of poor moral choice involved. I'm not even going to broach the subject of big tobacco and the addictiveness of nicotine here. Let's just say that, there are many factors involved in lung cancer, but stereotyping it as a disease that smokers brought on themselves does a large population a disservice.
Similarly, I'm tired of the stereotyping of type 2 diabetics that goes on ON THIS SITE, because the intention is the same: to affix blame, and to make some kind of moral argument that type 2 diabetics brought on their disease through poor choices (calling type 2 a "lifestyle disease) whereas type 1 diabetics are morally pristine.
That kind of stereotyping is harmful in several ways. First of all, given the vast variation in the disease history of people with type 2 diabetes, there absolutely are people out there who did everything they knew how to do to protect themselves and still got the disease. They exercised, they ate healthy, they ate reasonable portions. The only thing they didn't do right was pick which parents they were going to be born to. There are type 2 diabetes with inborn metabolic errors like PCOS. And there are plenty of type 1 diabetics who don't watch their diets or exercise, because they can take care of themselves with insulin. If not taking good care of yourself is morally blameworthy, why do you get off scot-free?
The harm of stereotyping and the affixing of blame is general. It's not just a diabetes thing. Think about the sentence: "I'm glad I'm not ________________ because ________________ are considered to be fat and lazy." Fill in the blank with ANY group you like, and then ask yourself how you'd feel to be a member of _____________ group. Instead of endorsing the stereotype by trying to differentiate yourself from the ____________group, why not try to combat the stereotype? And if you'd do it for ______________ group, because to fail to do so would be racist/sexist/antiSemitic/homophobic, why would you withhold that same consideration from type 2 diabetics?
If you prick her finger, does she not also bleed?