#dBlogWeek: Let’s discuss language and diabetes.

Welcome to Diabetes Blog Week! Diabetes Blog Week is just like it sounds… diabetes bloggers all blogging on daily topics for an entire week. Or, in this year’s case, for five days. To find out all about Diabetes Blog Week and to sign up,

As always, thank you to Karen Graffeo, creator and curator of Diabetes Blog Week. She’s awesome.

On Wednesday of #dBlogWeek, we’re discussing Language and Diabetes:
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, especially when it comes to diabetes. Many advocate for the importance of using non-stigmatizing, inclusive and non-udgemental 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.
Listen all you diabetic-testers!!! You people-with-diabetes-blood-sugar-checkers really want to know how I feel???

I feel like I just don’t want to spend time explaining why the language I use is correct, and the language you use is not.

I am squarely in the People With Diabetes/Checking my BG camp. If I can, I try to find words that won’t hurt anyone. I mean, why not? On the other hand, if you feel married to the idea that you’re a diabetic tester, that’s okay too. But here’s the thing:

The minute you try to attack one of my friends who says something you don’t like, you just might get a fight from me. And if you try to win me over to your way of thinking, especially if you use words like “you agree with me, right?”, don’t be surprised if you hear crickets coming from the other side of the table.

Sometimes I say things that another person disagrees with. Sometimes another person says something I don’t like. Occasionally, I’ve been forced to change my viewpoint on something I was sure I was correct on from the outset. How many of us have been perfect 100 percent of every moment of our lives? Answer: Zero percent of us.

Experience has taught me that being kind, and considering how someone else might feel about something I say helps me to form my thoughts in ways that are inclusive and are non-stigmatizing and are non-judgemental. Doing so doesn’t cost me anything extra. And wow, it really gives me plenty of time to explain what I’m saying, rather than how I’m saying it.

How do your thoughts explain what you’re saying rather than how you’re saying it?

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  • Laddie  On May 18, 2016 at 9:37 am

    There is no doubt that certain words which don’t offend me bother others. Sometimes I might actually disagree with why someone doesn’t like a term, but I do my best to respect their opinions and understand their viewpoint. Life is too short not to.

    Liked by 1 person

    • yerachmiel altman  On May 18, 2016 at 10:43 am

      I’m tired of being corrected: You’re NOT a diabetic, you are a person with diabetes!!

      I guess i don’t know myself well enough (or I was born before PC became standard operating procedure)


    • StephenS  On May 18, 2016 at 8:28 pm

      Life is too short not to… great words of advice Laddie.


  • Katy  On May 18, 2016 at 10:38 am

    I see it all more as a matter of style/age (not like age in years but more like era of diagnosis) than intent BUT regardless of intent, outmoded language hurts. You agree with me, right?


    • StephenS  On May 18, 2016 at 8:27 pm

      If I’m wrong, tell me. If you’re wrong, I’ll never tell you (directly), and I’ll still be your friend. But you’re never wrong.


  • yerachmiel altman  On May 18, 2016 at 10:51 am

    Outmoded language is a funny term itself? Give me a few examples and I’ll react to them (or won’t) and we can tell if it affects me. Which tells you absolutely nothing about millions of other people.

    I’m an engineer. Language is something we use to write comments so that our code will make it into production (as our boss says it has to have so many lines of comments for so many lines of code).

    By the way, I first used the cat in the hat rhyming scheme commenting on a memory manager, so maybe I’m not the best person to do this


  • Kelley  On May 18, 2016 at 11:49 am

    EEK! I’m in the diabetic/testing my blood sugar camp, can we still be friends?! đŸ˜›

    Liked by 1 person

  • Jenn  On May 18, 2016 at 7:07 pm

    Being kind and considering other’s feelings, not just in our words but also in our actions, will take us a a long way in life. Like the quote says (.. sorry, I don’t know who I’m quoting..) “In a world where you can be anything, be kind.”

    Liked by 1 person

  • Frank  On May 18, 2016 at 10:59 pm

    Great perspective, Stephen. We can all respect each other’s preferences without arguing over right and wrong.


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