News flash: we're not fat and lazy

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?

I am not happy to see stereotyping of any kind (towards people with type 1 or people with type 2) on the site. That is why we spent quite a bit of time putting together this video last year, as another incident of type 1-vs-type 2 discussion erupted.

Hope it helps show where we (Diabetes Hands Foundation, the nonprofit running the community) stands on this issue:

I appreciate your input, Manny, and you have done a great job putting the site together.

Our enemy is the fact that the public is “considering diabetics to be fat and lazy”. We are in the same boat here. When someone is venting here about the confusion between T1 and T2 it is a reference to the public view and to the prejudices and misconceptions that come along. All diabetics should keep in mind that we are battling this common enemy together. Maybe T1 diabetics should always stress that they have the misconceptions of the public in mind when they try to explain their condition to others. This way we will stop the cycle of fighting one misconception with the circulation of another.

I know, Frances… I guess I made the mistake of assuming that this was a safe place for support, and it’s not. I have some support from here, but it by all means does not mean this place is safe. It’s a place where trolls are allowed to be trolls, for supposedly, the sake of educating them… yet, no one bothers to think how that may emotionally damage or hurt the people who came here because they do not get adequate support, or because they are persecuted day in and day out, and well… When an organization becomes all about “the recruiting,” and not enough about taking care of the people who are already members, then… it’s just not worth it. It’s like “the in” thing that I need to belong to said place, but in reality, they don’t take care of me. I don’t know in what universe people get to call us “fat chunky cows” and “fat butts,” and their comments don’t get deleted, and they don’t get warned… But I was told it was for the sake of “educating” … Well, can’t they get educated with a comment deleted, and a warning? lol And reading the 1 or 2 people who bothered to post, sensibly? I guess not… We tend to be, far more frequently than not, be the “scapegoats” of education… and well… I try to stand up against it, even though in the eyes of the administration that just makes me argumentative, difficult, and always looking for these discussions on purpose. lol Believe it or not, that’s what I was told. There was one person, who is a long time member of this site, who still holds a lot of that ignorance and bias and resentment against us, Type 2’s, no matter what we say or do… So I seriously doubt a lot of that “education” even helps… when it comes at the expense of being verbally abusive against a group of people. “I’m going to let you call other people cows, cus I’m gonna try to educate you,” kind of thing… It’s also very hard for me not to get mad at the individual replies of Type 1’s in some discussions… like when they get so annoyed they get confused with us, Type 2’s… I know… I think all my DOC friends assume I’m Type 1, and when I tell them I’m Type 2… they say “Oh.” lol And that’s it. My advise is to just stay away from hot stoves, running with scissors, idiots with grenades, and Type 1 vs. Type 2 war/discussions on here. All you’re going to do is cause yourself grief, and heartache… become disappointed in how many douche bags also get Diabetes, and cry. The Admin won’t take care of it, so you gotta take care of YOURSELF. Be friends with whoever is worth it, ignore the rest (even if they claim they need help), and ignore everything else…

I once met a woman named Karen Parles who got lung cancer after having never had any significant exposure to any known carcinogen. She got SO sick of people saying, “I didn’t know you smoked” after her diagnosis that she started her own web site, Sad to say she lost her battle after 10 years, but oh, did she open my eyes to the kind of discrimination that people with a particular disease can face when the popular media decides that it’s “caused by” your own vices. Remember back when AIDS was a “gay drug user” disease?

I’m fairly new to this site and I can’t tell you how much it has helped me. I’ve been a diabetic for 32 years and it’s the first “group” I’ve ever joined. There have been some great discussions and I’ve really learned some great stuff. It makes me sad to think this one “hot topic” is putting such a great rift amungst everyone. We are all fighting the same battle and need to focus on that instead of letting it divide us.

@ Liz. ARE YOU FOR REAL??? Please know that all here are trying to learn not only from each other but also about the different Types of Diabetes that are out there! I come from a loooong line of both Types of diabetes and all in my family have prased this site for the learning about both Types! I NEVER thought of a Type 2 being over compulsive about eating or even over weight! I belive we all have this desaese that we didn’t ASK for but have to LIVE with. This is a safe place for support! We’re all here to help one another through the tough times and don’t need anyone doing otherwise!

Oh and that goes for you too Francis

Doris D… You are a wonderful person, and one of the few reasons I still keep coming here… but yes, I was for real… I am sorry to say.

This place has saved me more than once! Please look for the silver lining here.

Just send them to our T2 Thin Group. :slight_smile: That is where us T2 Toothpicks hang out! :slight_smile: LOL!! (me being one of them).

I just ignore these sorts of stereotypes - I see it as an opportunity for me to prperly educate people on the genetics of T2. It is the medias fault for these stereotypes and people need to be set straight so us skinnies are good example to do it.

Don’t get too upset about - set the record straight if you can! :slight_smile:

Hi Frances: Here is a reason why we should be considerate of each other and learn from each other–because when we need advice we have somewhere to turn. I have T1 (adult onset), and I know some but not much about T2. So when my brother-in-law was recently diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, I immediately turned to my dear friend Bruce (T2 who really knows his stuff and has done a great job of managing his diabetes) for his advice and assistance. And I could pass along some really good advice to my newly diagnosed brother-in-law. Plus I learned some cool stuff for myself (Bruce’s endo recommended the South Beach Diet as being really a good one, and I now have the South Beach cookbooks and find it to be really a good program).