What would you say?
As I’ve mentioned before, I tend to keep my personal Facebook page, well, personal. Everyone that I call a “friend” on the social networking site is someone that I trust and would truly call a friend in real life. I don’t fill it up with casual acquaintances — there are plenty of grade-school and high-school classmates (even the bullying type) whose friend-requests have gone unacknowledged.
Some, I will admit, are “second-degree” friends. People that I’ve met through my wife or other friends, and gotten along with well.
Yesterday evening, in my newsfeed, I saw that she had posted a joke about a boy eating cookies and getting diabetes, preceded by “Here’s a joke one of my 3rd grade students told me today.” You’ve probably heard the whole thing before. I won’t repeat it here.
On on hand, I didn’t find the joke funny. On the other hand, judging by the comments and “likes”, many people did.
On one hand, there are a ton of misconceptions out there, and accusations that go along with them. On the other hand, I’ve never been a target of those accusations.
On one hand, I could be oversensitive. On the other hand, I’m sure I’m guilty of telling an inappropriate joke or two myself over the years.
The person who posted this is a really sweet, fun, bubbly-personality kind of girl. Someone who’s always smiling and sees the bright side of everything, and the kind of person who makes other people around her better. Unfriending (or de-friending, or whatever those young whippersnappers are calling it these days) is not even a remote consideration.
So I stepped in with a comment of my own, saying non-confrontationally, that “It is my moral obligation to assure everyone that eating cookies does NOT cause diabetes. This is a misconception that doesn’t need to be reinforced. Now, down from my soapbox.”
The comment that followed, from someone who I do not know, was “Childhood diabetes is no joke…what does a young boy know.”
Followed by another comment from the original poster “Sorry Scott! I knew this might strike a nerve.” That one was awkward.
I left one more response to the post and then left it alone.
Honestly, I’m not sure what to do or what to think. I don’t want to be “that person” who complains all the time. The “token diabetic” that makes people stop laughing and having fun when I walk in the room.
Yet it warrants complaining. And though these comments and misconceptions haven’t really affected me personally, I know that others have felt guilt or shame because of them — and I felt the need to speak up.
I’m also not sure which upsets me more — that the joke was told by my friend or by a third-grade student. Perhaps the third-grader didn’t know better. Perhaps the kid just didn’t know any better. Perhaps there isn’t anyone in his school with diabetes. Or if there is, the student may just know about it.
Or maybe there is, and maybe he does. Many people, myself included, are diagnose prior to entering grade number three. I assure you it had nothing to do with eating cookies.
How would you respond