Alexandria Durrell: Irritated By Allergies

Feb
13
2015

Cartoon Compares School Allergy Accommodations to Anti-Vax

They are NOT the same premise

I want to talk about this cartoon. I want everyone talking about this cartoon. It popped up in my Facebook feed from a friend who shared it from the WCPO -- 9 On Your Side Facebook page.

The cartoon insinuates that the parents who are pushing for peanut and nut (or any food) bans are the very same ones refusing to vaccinate their children. The character in each photo is identical, and thus implies that the same people forcing you to protect their kids from life-threatening food allergies are the ones who are refusing to protect your kids (and their own) against things like the measles.

This is not true.

Maybe some allergy parents are also refusing to vaccinate, but this isn't the case across the board. (And maybe some cannot because their child is allergic to something in a vaccine but we are not, as a community, the ones who are refusing to vaccinate.) I am not the one bringing measles to the masses while refusing to allow your kid to eat her beloved PB&J at school.

Stop Lying About Food Allergies

You may not see the insinuation here, but it's a direct finger pointed at the allergy community. The rage and hatred I see online when discussions about food bans happen is unreal. People are extremely upset that one allergic child can force a whole classroom to do without nuts. I understand, I do. My child is an inconvenience to you. My child should live in a bubble. My child is a genetic weak link. My child should be banned from school.

But I didn't choose for my son to be allergic. I did choose to fully vaccinate him, though. This cartoon woman is not me.

Those who choose not to vaccinate their children are not a representation of those who deal with life-threatening allergies daily. If a school protects those with allergies, I believe they have the responsibility to protect against these diseases, so is that the conversation we need to be having?

While I don't really understand the choice not to vaccinate, I do understand the desire to protect our children from any harm. I want to protect my child and yours. 

I think this cartoon is wholly unfair, and will serve to fuel the fires against the allergy community by taking what was originally a comment comparing protecting an immunocompromised child in school to protecting one with food allergies out of context.

It would be amazing if these conversations raised constructive, helpful ideas to solving these issues instead of divisive, accusatory arguments, although I'm not even sure that's possible. What I do know is that cartoons like this do nothing positive for anyone.