Are You Offended By The Term Diabetic?


(bassoonist1719) #21

I'm not offended by being called a diabetic, but the term annoys me to a certain extent just because people with other diseases aren't referred to by what disease they have.  People with cancer aren't called "canceroids"... the reason it annoys me is that you are defining the person by what they have.  I'm not overly sensitive about diabetes at all - I will gladly answer questions and check in public, etc.  But I'd rather refer to people who have diabetes as people who have diabetes. 


(paulg765) #22

[quote user="Katie"]I'm not offended by being called a diabetic, but the term annoys me to a certain extent just because people with other diseases aren't referred to by what disease they have.  People with cancer aren't called "canceroids"... the reason it annoys me is that you are defining the person by what they have.  I'm not overly sensitive about diabetes at all - I will gladly answer questions and check in public, etc.  But I'd rather refer to people who have diabetes as people who have diabetes.  [/quote]

I absolutely agree with you (Katie) and with Molly above.  It's not that I am offended, because nothing offends me anymore.  I just believe that only "spiritually asleep" people will see any benefit in characterizing another human being by external properties such as their race, color, religion, nationality or disease.  Such designations are only meant to divide us and glamorize our own individual egos.  It's not the fact that the designation is verbalized which matters, it's the fact that it is even thought about.  People who think this way haven't woken up yet..., and perhaps never will.  It's their loss.


(kbuckleync) #23

Does that mean you don't want to be referred to as a blond, a brunette, short, tall, Italian, hispanic, a good cook, a great husband, bad at math?  I dunno....I guess I'm just one of those "asleep" people who'll never wake up.  Diabetes is one of the many adjectives that describes me, and I'm fine with that.  I'm also tall, a mom, a strawberry blond, a sister, a marketing director....I'm fine with all those descriptions too.

After all, it's not like when people introduce me to others that they say, "This is Kristen, and she's a diabetic."  It's just one of those things that might come up in conversations (especially if people see me pump (or whatever) in public).


(paulg765) #24

All of those physical characteristics are in a constant state of transformation throughout your life and can be gone in a split second.  If your self-image depends on them then you will always go from "happy" to "sad" to "depressed" to "frightened," etc.  The real "inner" you does not rely on external forms in the same way.  The "inner" you and your spiritual connection with the rest of the world can be the source of true inner peace and happiness.


(Deckard) #25

Hi Katie, interesting thoughts.  I really had to lolz at canceroids, kinda reminds me of hemorrhoids ;p OUCH!  I think your analogy might be a tiny bit off as cancer is a disease that afflicts in stages. It's not a continuous chronic illness in that daily it must be managed and delt with. You are either a cancer survivor, battling cancer, or you're dead. Cancer survivors are people with cancer in remission.  Conversely chronic illnesses such as say Asthma, artheritis, diabetes are non curable but manageable on a daily basis, but never go into remission either.

i.e.  He is an asthmatic. She is artheritic, they are diabetic...When these terms were originally devised, I promise you they were never meant as a pejorative and considering them as such is simply wrong.


(diabetic-angel) #26

i am not offended to be called a diabetic cuz its true and i will say it loud & proud! although someone at my school said tht diabetes was a fat person disease=( tht made me so mad and i wanted to punch the person out cold, but i would prob get suspended for tht. DARN! next time tht person gets to meet my lovely hard FIST!


(Savs) #27

I don't think the word is offensive at all... its what we are?

Although we are diabetics, I can see how someone might think it a demeaning word as it makes us seem unhuman: you call a dog a dog, you call a cat a cat, you call a human a human... but then we get called diabetics.

While, like many of you, I am not offended, it may be a sensitive subject for some people.


(Savs) #28

[quote user="Katie"]

I'm not offended by being called a diabetic, but the term annoys me to a certain extent just because people with other diseases aren't referred to by what disease they have.

[/quote]

just had to throw this in there: People with Autism are often referred to as Autistic


(paulg765) #29

[quote user="Deckard"]When these terms were originally devised, I promise you they were never meant as a pejorative and considering them as such is simply wrong.[/quote]

Actually, what's interesting is that when the word diabetic was originally derived, diabetes was a disease which was not only incurable (as it still is today), but it was also unmanageable.  Before the discovery of insulin in 1921, a diagnosis of diabetes was a death sentence.  A diabetic was a person, usually a child or youngster, who was never going to see adulthood.  They were isolated, perhaps even ostracized, from the rest of society to wards where they fell into comas and ultimately died.  Look at this description of diabetes taken from the Wikipedia article on "Insulin."

Children dying from diabetic keto-acidosis were kept in large wards, often with 50 or more patients in a ward, mostly comatose. Grieving family members were often in attendance, awaiting the (until then, inevitable) death. In one of medicine's more dramatic moments Banting, Best, and Collip went from bed to bed, injecting an entire ward with the new purified extract. Before they had reached the last dying child, the first few were awakening from their coma, to the joyous exclamations of their families.

You see, where the term "diabetic" might have been fitting for this time period when a "diabetic's" life was so affected by the diagnosis, it is no longer true today.  In my opinion, the term is antiquated and burdened with negative connotations.  Intelligent and compassionate people shouldn't use it.


(paulg765) #30

[quote user="Savs"]just had to throw this in there: People with Autism are often referred to as Autistic[/quote]

Actually not, and that's just the point.  A person with Autisim is not known as "an Autistic."  He (or she) might be called an "autistic child."  A person with diabetes might be called "a diabetic child" where diabetic is used as an adjective but he or she might also be called "a diabetic" where diabetic is used as a noun.  Yes we are talking semantics, but often negative semantics are the signposts of prejudice or bias.


(system) #31

I guess I don't agree with someone telling me I'm unintelligent and not compassionate because I use the term "diabetic." Having diabetes is very much a part of who I am, but it's only a part. I'm also a student, a teacher, a daughter, an alcoholic, a redhead, a friend.... much more. Someone could use any of those words (and a thousand others) to describe me and they would all be very true. As long as they are speaking truthfully about me and who I am and the things I do, I'm not offended.


(Adventist) #32

No, beacuse that is a VERY accurate description of the diease that i have!!


(paulg765) #33

In a group like Juvenation, where we are all "diabetics," it doesn;t really matter much.  Just as many ethnic groups when they are among themselves call each other "names" (not so nice) that someone outside that particular group wouldn't dare to call them.  It's one thing if you want to call yourself a "diabetic," but it really is different when someone who isn't calls you one.  Think for a second how you might feel if a conversation like this took place "behind your back."

Friend A:  "Do you know Paul G?
Friend B:  "You mean Paul the diabetic?" or "He's the diabetic, right?"

How about this: "I don't want to hire a diabetic"?

Think about it this way:  Let's assume that diabetes is a defect in your health.  Wouldn't it be a major difference to say that you have a health defect rather than that you ARE a defect?

 


(Anonymous) #34

I kind of disagree with that last bit about saying you have a defect vs. you are a defect, Paul. I say this because diabetic is a name for someone who has diabetes, versus saying "I am diabetes." So I don't believe we are saying we are the disease, but rather that we have it.


(system) #35

i know that conversation happens all the time. it's an easy way to identify someone quickly.

for the most part (i do realize there are some exceptions such as pilots and military), somone can't legally say "i don't want to hire a diabetic" because of discrimination laws in place.

i've always been called a diabetic, by friends, family, coworkers, people i don't even know.... for me, i really have a hard time seeing any offensiveness in the world. it's not saying anything bad about me. it's stating i have a "defect" with my immune system/insulin producing cells. basically (of course, this is only the way i look at it), it's making a statement of fact. i think people realize diabetes itself is a defect, but the person is not a defect.

i agree with alyssa, i have diabetes but i am not the disease. therefore, someone calling me diabetic is simply stating i've been affected by it.

i'm a huge supporter of "people first." which is just the thinking that you identify the person and then whatever other descriptive words you feel like using. when i am speaking of someone else, i make a point to say person with _______. when someone is talking about me, i really don't care how they put it. like i said before, as long as it's truth, they can say what they want.


(paulg765) #36

[quote user="Alyssa"]

I kind of disagree with that last bit about saying you have a defect vs. you are a defect, Paul. I say this because diabetic is a name for someone who has diabetes, versus saying "I am diabetes." So I don't believe we are saying we are the disease, but rather that we have it.

[/quote]

Something which "has a defect" might be called "a defect," but not necessarily.  Generally, to call something "a defect" is much worse because it implies that the object (or whatever) is unsuitable for the purpose for which it was intended.  (Generally you discard "the defect.")  A person who "has diabetes" might be called "a diabetic," but again not necessarily unless you want to characterize and define the person by his or her having diabetes.

Just compare the way each of the following statements makes you feel?

A. Alyssa has diabetes.
B. Alyssa is a diabetic.

Take your blood pressure as you repeat them to yourself.  Don't they feel different?
To me, there are many other (nicer and more complimentary) things which come to my mind about Alyssa.  She just happens to have diabetes but that matters very little as to the wonderful person she is.  Sorry that I appear to disagree with everyone, and really it's not that important what other people call us, but please don't think of yourselves as "diabetics." I promise... you'll feel much better if you don't.

 


(Anonymous) #37

[quote user="Alyssa"]

No, because I am diabetic. But just so long as people remember that's not all I am, or all there is to me, I'm fine with it.

First and foremost I am Alyssa, then I'm a family member, a friend, a student, a writer... the list goes on. Somewhere in there I'm diabetic. But that's not my main focus; and it shouldn't be that of others, either, when they meet me.

[/quote]

 

I feel silly for quoting myself, but I wanted to say that I do agree with some of that, Paul, that I'm other things first (thank you, by the way, I appreciate that).

But at the same time, that still just reminds me of the scene in Hook where Peter tells his son to "stop acting like a child," and his son replies, "I am a child!"

I am a diabetic. I have diabetes. That doesn't mean diabetes is who I am, that doesn't mean I always will be. But right now? Sitting at the computer? At this moment in time? I am. And to be honest, both "I am diabetic" and "I have diabetes" make me feel the same way. A little bitter at the moment but also proud for living with the disease.

I understand where you're coming from.

Diabetes isn't all we are, it isn't the first things about us. My parents and I have gotten used to saying, "Yeah? So? What else?" when people ask if I'm diabetic. It's funny, in a way. Because I am. But that's not all I am, and it's not most importantly what I am. And that's redundant, I'm repeating myself. Sorry :)

Going off the belief that yes, I'm diabetic, but that's not all. That reminds me of... not labeling, but commenting to someone, "You have two feet." Um, yes. But that's not all :)


(paulg765) #38

At the outset, I should say that many people feel that "semantics" and the fine distinctions defined by language are unimportant.  To them this whole conversation probably seems nuts.  So be it.

Perhaps it all comes down to the difference between the verbs "to be" (as in "I am a diabetic.") and "to have" (as in "I have diabetes.")  Sounds a little like Bill Clinton's "It depends upon what the meaning of the word 'is' is."  This is probably to deep a conversation for this time of night, but here are the primary definitions of each according to Websters:

To Have: 1 a : to hold or maintain as a possession, privilege, or entitlement <they have a new car> <I have my rights>

To Be : 1 a : to equal in meaning : have the same connotation as : symbolize <God is love> <January is the first month> <let x be 10>

Based on these, can you feel the difference between "having diabetes" and "being a diabetic?"  Granted it's semantic and perhaps a fine point of language.

 


(Anonymous) #39

Yes, I can see the difference in that. But still, I just feel it's a name for someone with diabetes, and because of that I don't have a preference/offence to either variation.


(system) #40

for me, both sayings "c is a diabetic/c has diabetes" mean the same thing. so they don't elicit different responses. i like that you have different opinions, paul. they make for interesting conversation! :o)