The Sea Will Claim Everything is currently part of the Bundle of Love for Brandon Boyer. The story is one that should be unsurprising to anyone who is familiar with private healthcare in the United States: person gets healthcare, person gets sick, healthcare company refuses to pay, person is left destitute.
Humble Bundle has teamed with independent developers to put together a bundle like no other. To help support this cause, pay at least $25 to receive a ton of games and all proceeds will go directly to the Brandon Boyer Cancer Treatment Relief fund. In addition to Brandon’s medical bills for cancer treatment, the excess funds from this promotion will be donated to a select cancer research organization.
I’ve already seen people complaining that this is a terrible thing to do because Boyer is white, male and privileged. Apart from being unbelievably, breathtakingly petty and unkind, this is also completely missing the point. The barbaric state of healthcare in the United States – and its decline to that level in other countries – is a systemic problem. It cannot be solved by Gofundme, Indiegogo, Kickstarter, Humble or Patreon. Millions of people are struggling with such problems in the US alone. Charity can, at best, be a personal gesture. An individual choice that helps an individual. Which is good and fine, and if I get a chance to help someone, I’ll take it. But to support, say, a black disabled trans journalist (which I would also do, given the chance) instead is just as much an individual choice that helps an individual, because it still leaves the same millions of people struggling to survive. However, to assert that some people are less deserving of the money because of their skin colour or gender is not only inhumane, but completely undermines the idea that all people deserve free healthcare. All of them, without exception.
Yeah, Brandon Boyer is lucky because he’s famous for the work he’s done and a lot of people want to support him. But the same is true of every game developer’s or journalist’s Patreon that has popped up recently. The people who get this kind of support are, for the most part, getting it because they already have an audience. Millions of people are losing everything right now who’ve never even heard of crowdfunding, and who wouldn’t get a single cent if they tried it – because they aren’t artists or journalists or capable of promoting themselves in the right way. That does not make them less valuable as human beings, or less deserving of our support.
Pointing fingers and talking about privilege is missing the point. Yes, we must be very aware of the fact that charity does not solve systemic problems. We must make sure that laudable efforts like this one don’t blind us to the fact that most people have to face such situations alone. But under no circumstances must we accept the logic of fighting for scraps when we deserve the whole buffet. Everyone deserves the right to as healthy a life as our civilization can provide. The crazy cat lady in the trailer park. The black teen from the gated community. The white game developer from California. The old man from Greece. The young immigrant in Italy. Everyone. No exceptions.
So, if you want to be angry, don’t be angry that some white guy is getting some donations. Be angry that donations are necessary at all.