MrBeast’s recent YouTube video showcasing visually impaired people undergoing a surgical procedure to “cure” their blindness has garnered over 76 million views and sparked both praise and criticism.
While some have accused the video of being ableist and a publicity stunt, there is no conclusive evidence to support these claims. The people involved in the video should not be blamed for their decision to undergo the surgery.
They decided to go through with the surgery.
The issue of wanting to cure blindness raises concerns regarding the reinforcement of ableist attitudes in society. Ableism, a form of discrimination against people with disabilities, is often overlooked compared to other forms of discrimination such as racism and sexism.
The belief that disability is a failure of the human condition creates a moral superiority among those without disabilities, leading to pity and mourning of those with disabilities.
While it is technically correct that disabilities are caused by the body not functioning as intended, the attitude towards fixing disabilities as if they are bugs to be eradicated is problematic.
The human body should not be viewed as a machine that needs to be perfect in order to be valuable. Recently, there has been a lot of harassment on social media directed towards people who don’t support the idea of “fixing” or “curing” disabilities that prevent individuals from living life to the fullest. Many people argue that a blind person can see the stars or a rainbow, which seems like a romantic notion, but it lacks perspective.
While the people who participated in the surgery may have regained their sight and improved their lives, there is no single cure for sight-threatening diseases. It is important to understand that doctors are not miracle workers.
It is not meant for the person with disabilities but rather for abled people to feel good about themselves, and for disabled people to strive to become like them.
This is where the ugly head of structural ableism rears its head again. Our disabilities define us to a large degree in many meaningful ways, but what about our individual characteristics?
Our families, our work, our relationships are just some of the things that we have. People with disabilities do not need pity or to be optimistic, and they do not need treatments from themselves. What they need is recognition of their basic humanity. Abled people need to see disabled people as people, rather than the people that society tells them to be. MrBeast and his followers fall into the trap of perpetuating a deeply entrenched ableist mindset, and this needs to change.
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