Heads Up

It’s a beautiful day in mid December, the sun shines on my face and I slowly wake up. Allowing my eyelids to linger, I realize I have to get out of my cozy bed and start my day. After finally getting up, I get dressed; get my backpack ready and etc. I usually take my sweet time in the morning. I am not truly ready to go until I get my red scooter. Once I get my red scooter, I certainly mean business. I leave my room and take the elevator down to first floor. I exit the building and I look around Gallaudet Campus. Whilst admiring the beauty that is Gallaudet, I see a swarm of students walking from place to place. All with their necks bent down, staring at their mobile devices.

I realize that having so many students not paying attention to traffic, they would acknowledge my presence once I run into them. It’s a challenge I accept every day after all. I devise a strategy to ensure the safety of the people while making it to my class at a speedy pace at the same time. And, of course I get to class on time as I successfully made it through the swarm of absent-minded college students. Challenge DEFEATED, indeed! However, during my ride, I have often hilariously witness skateboarders accidentally run into people, before trying to get their attention by waving hands their vigorously. Because they don’t have brakes, and people are on their phones, the skateboarders would immediately clash into the people. I kid you not, even after the person got hit, the person’s eyes still has not left the phone screen.

Let’s take a moment to think about who really suffers most from skateboarders and scooter enthusiasts. That’s right, the Deaf-Blind people on campus. After chatting with a friend of mine, Antwon White-Giddens, who happens to be a part of the Deaf-Blind community as he has Usher’s Syndrome. I was taken aback with the things he has experienced. Whenever he is on his way to class, he would accidentally bumps into people sometimes because he honestly cannot see his surroundings. However, people who are on their phones can, yet their first reaction would be to yell “pay attention!” Hold up, rewind! People are telling this Deaf-Blind person that HE should pay attention! Please tell me you clearly see the irony in this. It is absolutely ridiculous that he experiences this often. I commend Deaf-Blind people for having to deal with Abled Deaf people’s insensitivity and clueless hearing people 24/7.

I couldn’t possibly compare to the struggle that Deaf-Blind people go through everyday, but I can relate to their experience though. This almost never happens, but whenever I accidentally run into a person or zoom past them too fast, their first reaction is to yell at me “Pay Attention!” when in fact, THEY are the ones who should be paying attention because their eyes were focused on their phones, not the traffic surrounding them. I mean, I do my best to not interfere peoples routes and etc., but accidents do happen. With that being said, I feel like it is important for you people to keep this perspective in your mind, and maybe the next time someone accidentally run into you, try to be mindful of your reaction. Also, perhaps, instead of gluing your eyes on the screen all the time, you could try looking up, and really SEE the world too.

Overall, this experience has really opened my eyes up to being more open, especially to be considerate of the Deaf-Blind community. All persons, no matter hearing or deaf should try to do the same, and that we should be really careful with our assumptions. After the discussion with my friend, Antwon, I feel it is important to share this perspective with you all. I hope after reading this, maybe you would remember to lighten up with your initial reactions when things go awry and you could try keeping your heads up.

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