I experienced two uncomfortable diabetes moments the past couple of weeks. The first happened at a comedy show. A guy was performing stand-up and making jokes about overweight people. At one point he referred to them simply as “the diabetics.” And it got a lot of laughs. Ouch.
The second incident happened at a party where I was in a circle with a few people I’d just met. Nick Jonas came up in conversation (don’t ask me how) and one of the women I’d been introduced to blurted out, “Did you know he has childhood diabetes? They should really capitalize on that!” I was stunned.
While I couldn’t have said anything at the comedy show (well I could have, but it may have been interpreted as heckling), I wondered later if I should have said something following the Nick Jonas comment. I’m sure the woman would have been shocked to have learned there was a person with diabetes in her presence.
I have a hard time knowing what to do in those situations – especially when I’m surrounded by people I’ve just met. I don’t want to come off as defensive or make someone feel bad for saying something they clearly don’t know much about, but I also hate to let the stereotypes continue.