American YouTuber Jimmy Donaldson, known as MrBeast, has sparked an interesting debate with his latest video titled “1000 Blind People See For the First Time”. Uploaded on January 29, the video shows Jimmy and his associates funding cataract surgery for 1,000 people across the world. In 4 days, the video has reached 74 million views but has also divided opinions massively.
Cataracts are treatable conditions caused by proteins clumping together, clouding the lens and obscuring the patient’s vision. According to reports, 40% of global visual impairment is caused by cataracts. It mostly occurs in old age but can also be caused by trauma. Young people usually suffer from cataracts due to genetics, diabetes, or smoking. Cataracts can also progress to complete blindness if not treated on time.
The sight-restoring operation can cost up to 7,000 USD per eye depending on the severity of the issue and the quality of the treatment. With insurance, the cost can be reduced to 2,000 or 3,000 dollars. It involves replacing the clouded lens (natural) with a new artificial one. MrBeast paid for the surgery of all subjects and handed out cash ranging from 10,000 to 50,000 USD. The team also went to countries like Brazil, Mexico, Indonesia, and Kenya, where getting the treatment is nearly impossible.
MrBeast Blindness Treatment Video Raises Questions
While many praised the YouTuber for this philanthropic effort, some also raised multiple concerns. There were suggestions that the producers used disabled people for views and to make money. On the other hand, some used Jimmy’s video to discuss the inaccessibility of the US healthcare system.
His fans and critics both questioned why it was so hard for less wealthy people to get a simple 10-minute surgery. They highlighted how the US healthcare system can only serve those with money while the less privileged are stuck behind a paywall. So, they took MrBeast’s apparent act of kindness as “charity porn” that ultimately served his fame and financial needs.
The YouTuber is known for giving away plenty of gifts in his videos but still many are still not convinced. Understandably, charity is a benevolent effort but folks think that Jimmy should not use it as monetizable content for his videos. The consensus suggests that philanthropy must be discreet and should not increase someone’s clout.
But Also Raises Awareness
While the criticism of this video is valid, there is also a positive message laced within. Some pointed out how the issue wasn’t the YouTuber but the for-profit US healthcare system. So, in a way, Jimmy’s video raised awareness on a few issues.
First, it highlighted a treatable condition and helped fund surgery for 1000 people. Secondly and most importantly, a wider audience got to learn about healthcare disparities in the US. For many, it can be a learning opportunity regarding their rights and universal healthcare.
If one looks closely, there is a persistent mockery of the system in the video. The treatment is being provided in a similar fashion as US facilities, like something to be won as a prize after struggling. It literally took a charity to cure the blindness of the citizens of the world’s largest economy. As long as it stays on YouTube, it will serve as a constant reminder of the failures of every US government since the beginning of time.
There is also an eye-opener for those accusing Jimmy of clout. He has mentioned the name of the charity (See) he’s promoting in the video’s description.
Need to Move Past Words
Many came to support MrBeast while criticizing the US healthcare system. They argued that the backlash against him might be valid but severely misguided. A privileged white man using his influence to promote charities was a fresh sight for many eyes.
However, seeing him as an alternate solution to the government’s shortcomings might not be a viable approach. It is highly unrealistic to expect help from all rich people while capitalism continues to thrive under division. The supporters of MrBeast agreed that he can be flawed for using capitalism but not his philanthropic efforts. Such efforts may influence other privileged and wealthy individuals to gradually step in instead of speaking from afar.
They would rather see rich white men pooling their resources and helping out the poor in any way they can rather than waiting on governments to do something.