#Crossfitgate has swept the nation thrusting diabetes and those of us who live with it along with advocates and activists into the public eye. This rollercoaster of emotion and reaction, while not a new phenomena, has been very enlightening and really presented us with an opportunity. I was pretty quick to fire off an open letter to Crossfit which quickly became THE most viewed post I have ever created. More than the story of Project365. More than the Project365 documentary. More than the Wind River Project. More than all the empowering, positive initiatives that have showcased the fact that life with diabetes isn’t a pleasure cruise but that we still are pushing limits in every area of our lives.
It got me thinking. This thing with Greg Glassman isn’t the problem. It’s a symptom of the problem. While that doesn’t mean that the symptom should be ignored, the underlying issue is much bigger and should be dealt with as a priority–because treating the root cause (ignorance, lack of education etc) will ultimately resolve the symptoms. I took an unpopular position on the Crossfitgate aftermath on the podcast too–and I took some heat for it. I don’t claim to be right about everything–I just claim to be open and honest about what I think.
I feel like we as a community are either really hurt by this–or totally indifferent to it. Half of us are rolling our eyes and just want to be left the hell alone. The other half are retweeting takedown petitions and demanding apologies. I am not asking anyone to do (or not to do) anything. Personally, I don’t need Greg Glassman to ask his social media team to take down the tweet seen round the world. Here’s why. At the end of the day, Crossfit’s social media pipeline doesn’t matter. They actually gave us a gift–a more visible example of the stigma that always manages to play the chameleon in our daily lives and blend and fade without an opportunity for effective response. This situation gave us a chance to speak to the stigma and confront it with our experiences. With who we are as people. We displayed the reality of our character to show that diabetes is not just a burden, it’s a struggle that makes us strong.
We don’t have to change Greg’s mind. We can’t. We DO need to work on changing public perceptions of diabetes and that is something we absolutely can do. That is what we are doing. That is the reason I started LivingVertical and on our homepage you’ll see that value explicitly stated. Changing perceptions (positively) doesn’t happen by winning arguments–even if you’re right. An argument with an idiot only creates more idiocy beyond a certain point.
That is, of course, the $64,000 question–what is that point?
I am not going to go nuts on social media telling people not to follow their conscience about petitions and apologies. That’s not my game–I will however use my website to explain why I am done ripping on Crossfits social media. Their PR department isn’t representative of everyone in the organization, I am sure, and it doesn’t speak for all people who are involved in Crossfit any more than I speak for people with diabetes just because I have diabetes and a twitter account.
(TL; dr) :
- You can always tell an @-hole but you can’t tell them much
- One companies PR deparment isn’t representative of their constituents and followers
- The diabetes community was seen and heard positively (win!)
- Changing the perception of diabetes is the solution we need to focus on
- Changing Greg Glassman’s mind is not a solution to the greater problem
- In light of the above, see point 4
- What if positive representations of diabetes got as much press as outrage?
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