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Another Day, Another TikTok Trend Mocking Blind People

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Like many people, I have been watching a lot of TikTok lately. With all of the stress that comes along with a global pandemic, it is a great way for me to take a break from my hectic schedule for a while. There is so much content, it is easy to lose track of time while scrolling through your feed. Most TikTok videos are pretty relatable and provide a much-needed laugh during these stressful times! Unfortunately, I’ve also seen a disappointing side to this app.

I suppose we can find fault with anything if we look hard enough for it. It is easy to become offended, we need to pick and choose what we are going to shrug off and what we will determine is unacceptable to us. We need to decide at what point a line is crossed. I came across an audio clip in which the blind community is the punch line. In this day and age, that is just unacceptable to me.

The audio clip from “Absolutely Fabulous” being turned into a trend is as follows: “Great news! She’s fat? No, no, no, better than that!  She’s dead? No! She’s blind! Yes!” Usually, the video will depict two people referring to an ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend. It includes the two characters jumping for joy when the punch line is delivered that shouts, “She’s blind!”

This TikTok trend is the perfect example of ableism. It is sending the message that it is fine to discredit one’s worth because they have a disability. The assumption becomes that because one is blind, they are less desirable than a sighted person. As somebody that belongs to the blind community, I am saddened that this is a trend. Am I to be less desired? Am I less worthy of love? No, absolutely not. There is nothing wrong with being blind, no matter where you fall on the spectrum. The blind community is an amazing one. We can accomplish anything we put our minds to, just like anybody else. It is never OK to make fun of disabled people. Period.

TikTok has also recently been criticized regarding another trend that insists Helen Keller could not have been a real person. It gained some negative media attention, as it should!  A spokesperson for TikTok issued this statement in a recent article that appeared on Yahoo Life, “TikTok is an inclusive community, and we do not tolerate hateful behavior. Content that dehumanizes others on the basis of a disability is a violation of our community guidelines, and we remove such content from our platform.” Yet videos containing discriminatory content toward the blind community continue to circulate on this app.

Like I have found here on The Mighty, I have also found wonderful people on TikTok willing to educate the public on what disability and chronic illness look like. I have learned so much from the stories that are shared by these brave people. It’s a shame that there are also many people jumping at the chance to garner some followers at the disabled community’s expense. I thought we were supposed to be heading into a kinder, more accepting world. Clearly, there is still a long way to go if it is acceptable to publicly shame disabled people.

Getty image by Wachiwit.

Originally published: February 7, 2021
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