Video of MrBeast's Blindness shows systemic ableism.

Video of MrBeast’s Blindness shows systemic ableism.

Recently, megastar creator MrBeast posted a video to his YouTube in which he highlights numerous visually impaired people who have undergone a surgical procedure that “cures” their blindness.

At the time of publication, the video had been viewed more than 76 million times, and the response has been visceral both in praise and contempt.

The publicist for MrBeast took to Twitter to publicly bemoan the fact that so many people are so angry at him for putting on a publicity stunt under the guise of selfless charity.

I have read that the video was both ableist and anti-altruistic.

Before delving into the many layers of why this video is problematic, it’s important to note that there is no evidence that this video is indeed troublesome.

The people who produced the video and the people who participated in the video should not be blamed.

They decided to go through with the surgery.

The biggest problem with wanting to cure blindness is that it reinforces a moral superiority of sorts for those without disabilities over those with disabilities.

Systemic ableism is pervasive in all parts of society, even though it is not confronted as frequently as racism and sexism.

The majority of abled people view disability as a failure of the human condition, so they should be mourned and pitied.

MrBeast stated in the thumbnail of his video that disabilities should be eradicated.

Disability is seen as a failure of the human condition is technically correct on one level.

Disabilities are what they are because the body isn’t designed in a way that makes them work.

Engineers would be tasked with finding and fixing the bugs if disabilities were a computer program.

The human body is not a machine that needs to be perfect in order to function properly or have value.

Since posting my thoughts on MrBeast’s video, I’ve been subject to a lot of harassment on social media.

In between calls for me to drink bleach, most of them have been questioning why I wouldn’t want to fix or cure something that prevents people from living a richer, fuller life.

They said that a blind person could see the stars, a rainbow, a child’s smile or whatever other romantic notion one could conjure.

I count the ways in which this perspective lacks perspective and Elizabeth Browning would be proud of the way I did it.

The doctors shown in the video are not miracle workers, for one thing.

There is no single cure for sight-threatening diseases.

If the people who participated in this surgery had their lives changed for the better by regaining their sight, more power to them, then that would be a good thing.

We don’t know what the long-term outlook is for their vision before the operation, and we don’t know what their visual acuities are before the operation.

It is baseless for MrBeast to say that he wants to cure blind people.

MrBeast’s video is inspiration porn, which is meant to portray abled people as the heroes in the war against the villain known as disability.

It is not meant for the person with disabilities.

It is for abled people to feel good about themselves, and for disabled people to strive to become like them.

The message of inspiration porn isn’t about us as human beings, it’s about a group that’s “less than” the rest.

This is where the ugly head of structural ableism rears its ugly head again.

If you broke your hand or wrist when you fell, that would be terrible. You wouldn’t be able to work for a long period of time.

During your recovery time, you would be expected to do everything you could have done previously.

You wouldn’t expect someone to miraculously reset your broken bone, but you would expect to be treated with dignity and that is what you would expect.

This is what MrBeast and his millions of followers are selling with this video.

They don’t recognize the humanity of blind people, they only recognize the abhorrence of not being able to see Able people have a tendency to think disability is something that defines us.

Our disabilities define us to a large degree in many meaningful ways. No one will be able to escape their bodies.

But what about our individual characteristics? Our families, our work, our relationships are just some of the things we have.

People are aware of the Paralympics and the wheelchair basketball league.

The point is that disabled people are not different in their makeup than the rest of us.

We shouldn’t be pitied and we certainly don’t need uplifting in the way MrBeast suggests.

Most people know me as a partner, brother, cousin and friend who likes to cook, listen to rap music, and a distinguished journalist, even though I have multiple disabilities.

Everyone in my circle knows that I have disabilities, but they don’t judge me solely based on them.

They know that my disabilities aren’t the totality of my being, they know the real me.

My lived experience is unique due to the fact that I have many disabilities, and my parents were both completely blind.

I was the unofficial in-house interpreter for my parents, when I was the oldest of two children.

I straddled the line between the hearing and deafness worlds as a CODA.

Hearing people look at their culture and their ways of life with great pride. What would happen to the people if someone were to cure deafness?

It’s true that the deafness culture is real.

There wouldn’t be a reason for sign language to exist and the experiences derived from it, so the culture would fade away.

I had a mentor my senior year of high school who asked me if I would go back and change things in my life so that I wouldn’t have disabilities.

I told him categorically that I wouldn’t.

He was taken aback by my answer, but I explained my rationale was that it would change who I am.

My feelings have not changed almost a quarter-century later.

I have moments, but not all of them. I can not go anywhere I want, whenever I want, because I cannot get in a car.

Cerebral palsy causes me a limited range of motion that makes it hard for me to move as freely as I want to.

My disabilities have made it possible for me to thrive in many ways.

In an alternate universe where I was not a lifelong disabled person, the relationships I have made, the knowledge I have acquired and the journalism career I have had for close to a decade would not have been possible. I think that is the ultimate silver lining.

When it comes to accessibility and assistive technologies, I don’t assume to be an oracle. I know a lot of things, but not everything.

I don’t presume to speak for all blind people or the disability community as a whole.

I proclaim to know where my eyesight sits on that line, because blindness in particular is a spectrum.

I know that a cure isn’t the answer to helping blind people and anyone else with a disability.

People with disabling conditions don’t need pity. We do not need to be optimistic. We don’t need treatments from ourselves.

Some recognition of our basic humanity is what we need the most.

We need abled people to see us as the people that we are rather than the people that society tells us to be.

MrBeast and his defenders fall into the trap of perpetuating that deeply entrenched ableist mindset; as I wrote earlier, ableism is just as prevalent as racism and sexism.

People who see us as real people are what we need to have allies. Finding a cure for cancer or AIDS is not the only thing that needs to be done.

There is no cure for the disabilities. The disability community is viewed as little more than real-life characters from a Tod Browning film, what truly needs curing is society’s proclivity.

People with intellectual disabilities are not freaks. It isn’t a bad word for disabled people.

There are a lot of things you can learn from us.

Also Read: Did Mr.Beast’s Co-Host Chris Tyson Divorce His Wife?

Related: First time in Italy, MrBeast Burger is available with Helbiz Kitchen

Related: Best of MrBeast: $300,000 given to those in need

Related: There are differences between MrBeast Burger in the US and UK.

Related: Government Scared MrBeast Will Inspire Wave of Copycat Philanthropy

Related: Is MrBeast Gay? Take a peek at the dating history of Youtube’s Biggest Philanthropist.

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