This was originally posted to my blog, Diabetes Odyssey.
“There is an old saying that states “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”. I’m willing to bet we’ve all disagreed with this at some point, and especially when it comes to diabetes. Many advocate for the importance of using non-stigmatizing, inclusive and non-judgmental language when speaking about or to people with diabetes. For some, they don’t care, others care passionately. Where do you stand when it comes to “person with diabetes” versus “diabetic”, or “checking” blood sugar versus “testing”, or any of the tons of other examples? Let’s explore the power of words, but please remember to keep things respectful.” - Bitter-Sweet Diabetes, Diabetes Blog Week, day 3.
I find that many things these days such as political correctness, tolerance, and the such can sometimes be way hypersensitive, and put too much emphasis in the wrong places. nit-picking every little detail of the way something is said, the exact words used, and not using common sense to understand what is being said. It’s what is being said (the intention) not so much how it is said that matters.
Honestly, in most cases I could not care any less what words are used when it comes to diabetes terminology. As long as I understand your meaning (intention) then I really don’t care how you say what you say.
I am not hypersensitive about terminology. I am, however, hypersensitive about pronunciation. If you pronounce it dia-beet-us, I just might punch you in the mouth. Not really, but I sure will want to.
If you read my blog, then you know I mix and match my terms all the time. I’ve used both “test” and “check”. I’ve used both “blood-sugar”, and “blood-glucose”. I’ve used “high” and “low” and also “hypo” and “hyper”. One term I’ve never used is “person with diabetes” because, in all honesty, I think it is too politically correct and I really do not care for politically correct terms. They actually seem cold and impersonal to me, like people only use them out of fear of hurting feelings or offending. I refuse to walk on eggshells for any reason. Eggshells hurt my feet.
I am a diabetic and I love the term diabetic, it’s who I am and what I am.
I am fine with whatever term people want to use for whatever they are talking about. Like I said, as long as I can understand your meaning, then we’re good. I don’t expect you to speak exactly like me. I don’t want you to be afraid of hurting my feelings or offending me, I want you to be able to be yourself around me. And I appreciate the same from you.