When people are offensive without meaning to be....

blue eyes 1985
By blue eyes 1985 Latest Reply 2012-12-05 13:27:51 -0400
Started 2012-11-26 01:06:06 -0400

Today I read a post on a networking site that said something along the lines of: John has 32 candy bars. If John eats 28 candy bars, what does he have? Diabetes. John has Diabetes. I replied to the post and politely told the person that wrote it that I found it a little hurtful and offensive because I have had Diabetes for twenty years, and certainly did not get it from eating twenty eight candy bars. I suppose hoping to hear an apology was too much to ask because the person basically implied that I am stupid for getting my feelings hurt over a dumb joke that they didn't find offensive because they had gestational Diabetes and learned that the life style choices you make often lead to Diabetes. Their friends then all proceeded to make fun of me and tell me to lighten up. The original poster went as far as to tell me to unfriend them. The point I am trying to make is that the general population perceives Diabetes as something you get because you eat too much sugar. It's made into jokes, mentioned in several rap songs, etc. I understood these things happening twenty, even ten years ago, but I honestly thought that the world was more educated and sensitive by now. Does anyone else run into these kinds of problems? If so, how do you deal with them? I most likely should have ignored the comment instead of making a spectacle of myself, but I couldn't help wanting to be understood.

37 replies

GabbyPA 2012-12-03 11:48:46 -0400 Report

Your post tile answers it all. When they "don't mean to be offensive" is very different from being abusive or mean spirited. The latter are hurtful, usually because they are personal attacks, not general jokes.

While I understand your point about misinformation, the point of most jokes are based on similar things. Do we not laugh at the blond jokes that get passed around the internet or the jokes about people who shop in Walmart? Don't we giggle a bit when we venture into political cracks or even religious jokes? What about the GEICO commercial that makes fun of a witch in a broom factory? Do you laugh at that? My husband finds it offensive.

If that same joke had a punch line of "28 cavities" or "fat", would you have giggled, just a little? Should those people be offended?

I am just saying that while our condition is chronic, our view of life doesn't have to be. Joking about things that are not laughing matters is a stress relief for many. We have become so "politically correct" that we have forgotten the fine art of being able to laugh at ourselves.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2012-12-03 13:56:55 -0400 Report

I absolutely love the witch in the broom factory and the fact that the guy giving her the broom doesn't have guts to stand up to her. I think if people would lighten up sometimes they will find that life can be fun.

If people think jokes about diabetes is not funny, they should stay away from South Park. They would be highly offended as the writers of that show parody everything you can imagine in life.

Well known comedian's such as Jack Benny, Red Skelton, George Burns, Jeff Foxworthy, Richard Pryor, Louis Black, Redd Foxx have all made a fortune in the joke business and have told all kinds of jokes. If you sit down and watch The Simpsons, American Dad, and my favorite baby Stewie, you will find these shows to not only be funny but offensive as well and people love them.

Ms. DAT 2012-12-03 02:16:22 -0400 Report

I have heard people say something to the effect that I don't want to eat to much candy or cake cause I don't want diabetes. I simply respond by saying, that is not the way you get diabetes or if you have diabetes then you will know and of course you can't eat a lot of candy or any other food that raises blood sugar, without being offended. It depends on who you are in conversation with such if it is person who wants to know more then tell more but if it is a person who doesn't want to change their attitude then don't waste time letting what they say bother you.

I certainly do understand about wanting to be understood but yet misunderstood or no consideration for feelings at all but If they don't choose to unfriend then say good bye, too! Love yourself!!

AnnRendon 2012-12-02 23:59:53 -0400 Report

Really does hurt because to admit it before I would eat as much sweets as I wanted but now I can't.. Kinda makes me feel shameful or proves to everyone that it my fault… I'm still in the closet about my diebetes

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2012-12-03 14:16:06 -0400 Report

You feel shameful because you choose to feel that way. How many people do you think care that you are a diabetic? Those who don't know you certainly don't. Those who know you but aren't close to you more than likely don't care especially if they aren't diabetic.

If you think that all of the sweets you ate caused diabetes and that you are proving to everyone that it is your fault then you need to stop trying to prove this to people. For decades people were told that eating sweets (sugar) caused diabetes. If that was a fact, everyone on the planet who eats sugar would be diabetic. There are diabetic babies, how much sweets did they eat if they are diabetic and 6 months old? Logic and being educated about diabetes has to factor in at some point.

If you watch news reports, you hear about obesity/diabetes going hand in hand. Which is not true because thin people are also diabetic. You can be a healthy eater, athletic, or in good physical condition and develop heart disease and diabetes or cancer.

What people who hide in the closet doesn't realize that why you hide will eventually come out. Eventually people are going to find out. They will see your supplies, you could pass out in public or at a family gathering. I refuse to be in the closet for the simple reason that I am always out and about. The people I am with know because if something happens and I can't help myself, they know what to do to help me.

AnnRendon 2012-12-04 00:20:02 -0400 Report

From now on I will think differently.. Point made.. Loves me some Joyce she always give it to you straight.. ;-)

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2012-12-04 23:01:27 -0400 Report

Love you to. I am not a beat around the bush person. I have found that being a straight up person never leaves people wondering about where I stand on a topic, what I am about or who I am.

Katie Suvak
Katie Suvak 2012-12-02 19:11:13 -0400 Report

I just wrote about this and I think I made it offensive. But I hate this. Im not sure what to do. But I do wish people would stop joking because this isnt a laughing matter and I wish people would classify if its type one or two diabetes

Type1Lou 2012-12-01 13:23:08 -0400 Report

There will always be uninformed and insensitive louts around. I try to consider the source and motivation of the hurtful comments and have developed a thicker skin so they may not bother be as much. I've had 36+ years with diabetes to help me feel better about myself. I know that what I ate did not cause my diabetes and decisions I make now about diet and exercise determine how well I will continue to fare with it. If I think it will help, I may use the hurtful comment as a platform to attempt to inform people about diabetes, its causes and its management. If my attempts are ridiculed, I'll just walk away…it's their loss and choice to continue to be ignorant and they are probably not worth the bother.

cindygal1 2012-12-01 09:53:59 -0400 Report

This is someone that has nothing better to do than making fun of diabetes and the people that have it. They don't understan it, yes you are right that you should just ignores these people. Do the things that you need to do to improve your diabetes. I would like to be friends you with on here.

classof78 2012-11-30 23:59:02 -0400 Report

I saw this on pinterest when I typed in diabetes. It was about the only thing that came up. I tried to pin this site, but couldn't. I will keep trying to pin things there that inform/support/help instead of making jokes. I was able to pin some recipes.

jigsaw 2012-11-29 20:31:38 -0400 Report

There are many people that not only understand, but they also enjoy being supportive ! That is where your focus should be. Why waste your time with those that are not only ignorant, but immature as well ?

J Kate
J Kate 2012-11-29 17:22:45 -0400 Report

I've seen this lame joke on Twitter almost daily. I couldn't agree more. I think they may as well tweet "I am an uneducated fool, and I just wanted to make sure everyone knows." Anyone who has, or loves someone who lives with diabetes knows better. All we can do is educate and know you're not alone in feeling this way.

Set apart
Set apart 2012-11-29 07:50:07 -0400 Report

I guess I've learn to deal with people who really don't understand diabetes and what it's really about. I usually get comments like, "bet you had to lose all kinds of weight" and the crazy thing is that this is comin from people who knew me prior to having D. They know I didn't have to lose weight as a T1 I have actually lost weight! I admit I didn't understand the whole picture myself, so I work on helping others understand so that maybe they can become a bit more educated.

brianarox86 2012-11-29 10:38:16 -0400 Report

I'm also a type 1 and have lost a lot of weight due to the diabetes… i just found out I was type 1 a little over 5 years ago, I'm 26 now. It's definitely been hard, and not everyone understands it. I'm new to this site and it sure would be nice finding people who can relate.

red flower lady
red flower lady 2012-11-28 19:29:44 -0400 Report

This is the ignorence of non diabetics, or maybe someone who has watched a person just eat candy non stop, gain weight and become a diabetic and doesn't know a more compassionate way of pointing it out?

Nick1962 2012-11-28 13:24:53 -0400 Report

I’ve seen several similar little quips in the past and I guess I just reacted a little differently. I guess I saw it as a public service announcement of sorts. Sure, diet won’t necessarily give you diabetes, but the message I took away was that anything in excess, whether it be 28 candy bars, cigarettes, alcohol, you name it, will lead to some serious consequences long term. I’m not sure the poster was necessarily trying to be funny or hurtful. Maybe making a strong point.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2012-11-28 13:49:53 -0400 Report

Nick people say all kinds of things that some people think are inappropriate or offensive. I agree this could have been a public service announcement.

We have billboards that say "Got Balls, Get Tested" it shows gorgeous guys in unbuttoned shirts showing some chest. People found it offensive. The message in the message is if you have the balls go get tested for HIV. All people saw was GOT BALLS and never got past that and did not read about the free HIV testing. We have one of the highest rate of HIV for bi-sexual men in the country.

I liked Diabetic Living on Facebook and they have cartoons that really get your attention. One was a stick figure type of drawing of a woman with a needle. In the bubble it said "I hate the prick" I roared because I thought it was from a friend until I saw it was diabetic living. I still think it's funny and it got some funny comments from my friends who are diabetic who are on insulin as well as those who aren't.

These kinds of ads usually get people talking and once those who are offended join the conversation, they realize the message was doing what it was suppose to do.

Nick1962 2012-11-28 14:16:36 -0400 Report

My previous chiropractor had a monthly newsletter with various topics, many on the importance of healthy weight and included this photo with an article http://cdn.memegenerator.net/images/300x/6097...
Jokingly, I went in and asked him how he managed to find that picture of me (which sadly is pretty close to being accurate at the time). He immediately became apologetic thinking I was offended. I told him I was joking. Later in our diet class several parents said they took a good look at their kids after that because they always had “their vision” of them and a few had put their kids on diets because of it.
Sometimes the subtle approach just doesn’t hit.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2012-11-28 12:52:08 -0400 Report

I think it was an idiotic thing to say and was a poor attempt to being funny. I see nothing offensive because the person basically is clueless about diabetes.

Years ago a police officer arrested a man for saying something to him he thought was offensive. In court the judge asked the man what he said. He repeated it. The judge dropped all charges and told the police officer what might be offensive to you may not be offensive to anyone else and you have to be the bigger person. In other words, the judge told the officer to grow up.

For all you know this person could be diabetic and in a slump and his/her attempt to lighten their problem came off as a poor joke. If your feelings were hurt, I think you may have been a little over sensitive.

If you ever read online news reports where there is a public comment section, you will see all kinds of nasty, highly offensive comments. People say far worse than what this person said. The thing is computers make it safe for ignorant, idiotic, selfish people to voice their opinions. Our Constitution gives them that right. These are the people who would never say such things in a public forum.

I have worked with the public my entire life. I have heard just about everything long before computers were main streamed. I have be called everything you could possibly think of. If I spent my time being offended by everything that I have read or has been said to me, I would not have time for anything else.

They made fun of you because they were trying to be humorous because maybe it was something they needed at that particular time and while others may have thought it funny, you didn't. Because you were offended, you spoiled their attempt at having a little fun. I have a friend who loves nuts. He knows I am highly allergic and always asks if I want some. My response is what are you trying to do, send me to the hospital or kill me?

People are better educated than 20-30 years ago. This doesn't mean everyone is. This also doesn't mean that people are going to stop making jokes about diabetes. Diabetes is a serious disease, this doesn't mean you have to stop having a little fun with it no matter how good or bad the jokes are. Laughter still is the best medicine at times.

arsmithsr 2012-11-27 17:34:16 -0400 Report

I have seen the same thing here. The Media is the problem you are right the ADA says diet does not cause Diabeties they admit there is alot we don't know. But that is not what people see in the media on TV in the news articles. Every thing in the media blames the victim makes it our fault. I tried to point this out ot the pharmicist who wrote an article on here saying you have Diabeties due to poor life choices and I told him he was wrong he stood by what he said. He obviously hasn't read what the ADA has to say about it. So you have to let it go you won't be able to convince them the al mighty media has told them what to belive and they will believe it. All you can do is walk away let it go and do the best you can do to control your condition.

s l k
s l k 2012-11-26 21:57:36 -0400 Report

And that reminds me of my sister who was married and 20 years old…I was 6 and putting sugar on my cheerios and she announced that I would be getting diabetes because of it. I didn't understand it then, and when first diagnosed her words to me just rang in my ears.

I saw that joke, I guess I laughed about it…and probably shouldn't have.

Type1Lou 2012-12-01 13:33:51 -0400 Report

Prior to developing my Type 1, my mother-in-law was bemoaning my bad eating/cooking habits and warned that I would get diabetes. Six months after separating from her son, I was diagnosed as a Type 1 at age 27. I had weighed 120 lbs and dropped to 107 in 2 weeks with constant thirst and frequent urination as symptoms. My eating habits certainly didn't help but the stress of living with my 1st husband may also have been a contributing factor…or not? It is not completely understood what triggers a Type 1's auto-immune destruction of the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. In any event, I'm sure mother-in-law felt validated in her comment which did not make it accurate.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2012-11-28 13:05:33 -0400 Report

My mom use to say that years ago. I am now diabetic and it doesn't bother me at all. As long as grass isn't growing on my chest, I am going to have fun in life. I think it was a poor joke but kind of cute when done as a math problem.

jayabee52 2012-11-26 02:04:11 -0400 Report

When confronted with a situation such as you describe (it even happens on DC here from time to time) I like to wait for a bit and attempt to answer in a humorous way which both teaches and pokes sly fun at the dumb idea. I have also learned over the years that often a frontal assault is not the best approach, but rather one that comes sideways. I don't always get it done correctly, but that is my goal.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2012-11-28 13:08:56 -0400 Report

I agree James. A frontal assault was not the best route to take in a situation like that. These people basically said she sucked the fun out of their good time. Sometimes adding humor to a poor joke keeps everyone happy. I think these people were just having a little fun to brighten their day being offensive was not their goal. I would have responded with a bit of humor of my own or if I were offended, I would not have said anything at all. However, it takes a lot to offend me.

jayabee52 2012-11-28 13:13:54 -0400 Report

It takes quite a lot to offend me also, Joyce, even when ! am sure they are trying to offend.

Sometimes when they're trying it is fun for me to watch them turn this way and that to no effect on me. It seems to drive them bonkers.

Langerm 2012-11-26 01:53:56 -0400 Report

It's hard to keep your sense of humor when this stuff happens— it's overwhelming to have to deal with your condition plus people trying to make you feel like it's all your fault. If you can, view it as an opportunity to educate. Keep it lighthearted and try to remember that these people have no idea how you feel. I'm not always able to laugh at my condition, but try to when you can.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2012-11-28 13:02:45 -0400 Report

Good point Langerm. However, no one can make you feel like its your fault unless you allow them to do so. I think people take some things way too seriously.

On Thanksgiving Day after dinner, my 8 year old cousin sat next to me with a pack of M&M's he asked if I wanted some. I said no thanks. He asked why. I proceeded to tell him I had diabetes and if I shared his candy with him, the candy would make me feel sick because of what I ate for dinner. He thought about that for half a second and then yelled to his mother in another room. Mommy Joyce can't eat my candy with me cause she has diatetes (his pronunciation) and if she eats it she will get sick. Can we sneak her some so we can call an ambulance. I like seeing them. He had a house full of people laughing hysterically. When I could finally stop laughing to speak. I asked him what did I have. He said it again and I taught him how to say it correctly. I also told him everyone should get tested. He then yells Mommy everyone should get tested for diabetes so we won't get sick like Joyce but I still love her just the way she is. Out of the mouth of kids. Sometimes you just have to lighten up and have fun. I am sure there would have been people highly offended if my cousin had said that about them and that is sad.