There has been a big hullabaloo in the DOC the past few days due to advice given to a diabetic traveler via an advice article written by “Miss Manners” (you can read it on this page).
Basically, she told a diabetic traveler that the polite thing to do when needing to test blood glucose on an airplane (or anywhere away from home) is to excuse yourself to the bathroom.
Now, I do not agree with this. No one in the DOC agrees with this. Bathrooms are gross and dirty. Diabetes already comes with a massive dose of attached stigma, and hiding away to manage it isn’t a good way to promote healthful habits. Also, in emergencies it’s just plain ridiculous to expect someone to search out a bathroom. Etc. etc. etc.
I understand the DOC’s outrage and the general desire to let “Miss Manners” know why her advice is ill-founded. Besides the comments on the original web page, there are now countless blogs from fellow bloggers calling out this woman on her advice.
Here is where my main issue with all of this lies….
“Miss Manners” is an elderly woman (look her up, her name is Judith Martin). She grew up in an era vastly different than the present. Ideas of manners and polite behavior were different. Chronic disease management wasn’t the same as it is now. Yes, what she said was ignorant. And kudos to those who let her know that in a respectful way. I have only seen a couple people who did.
Many comments and blogs told an elderly woman to go ‘f yourself’ or ‘suck it’. I don’t care how misguided someone is, I was taught to respect my elders. I am shocked and dismayed at how many in the DOC are expressing themselves and making us, as a community, appear. Frankly, now we all look like a bunch of highly defensive a-holes. How many would actually say ‘f you’ or something else highly derogatory to an elderly woman’s face? I am guessing few to none. But by being behind keyboards and computer screens, the filters come off.
We talk about advocacy. We talk about educating. Both are admirable goals in regards to what we need to do.
But let’s do it with class and poise.