quick sotomayor thoughts

27May09

I have a few posts brewing (and I mean that this time) but I just had to say this about Sonia Sotomayor. I don’t really have much of an opinion about her; I’ll wait until I’ve read more and the hearings start. But I do want to say this: I find it deeply troubling the way her diabetes has been discussed lately. Diabetes has become such a buzzword these days, code for “lazy, gluttonous, and fat,” that we apparently cannot even distinguish between type II diabetes and type I. Have we really forgotten about juvenile onset diabetes? Did nobody else but me go to middle school and high school with people who need insulin shots or who got fitted with pumps? And why must we castigate people even if they have type II diabetes? While it’s true that adult-onset diabetes is often the result of poor diet, even that’s no longer strictly true; note the increasing rates of diabetes among people in the third world. And even the standard “American poor diet” isn’t something that we should always consider to be a moral failing. See, for example, this recent Washington Post article that explains just how much more poor people pay for things by virtue of not being rich enough to afford a car, for example. Corner stores charge more and let’s get real: corner stores aren’t usually teeming with bountiful and fresh produce, a wide selection of whole grains, and lean meats.

So let’s stop criminalizing people who are ill and let’s stop criticizing intelligent women because they were diagnosed with diabetes when they were 8.

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One Response to “quick sotomayor thoughts”

  1. I’m appalled that people are making this woman’s diabetes a political issue. And it makes me so angry when public commentators (including health professionals, who should know better) put all the blame for illnesses like Type II diabetes on individual lifestyle. To say these people simply ‘make bad choices’ completely obscures the many inequities embedded in our society that utterly constrain their ability to make any real choices at all. The Washington Post article you linked pointed this out very well.


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