by Donnell Ann Bell
An article on the History of Left-handed People caught my eye yesterday and after reading it, I felt so strongly about it I decided to include it in today’s Stiletto Gang blog. The article states myriad ways left-handed people have been discriminated against, particularly before the 20th century. I’m right-handed and never realized (all right, paid attention) that a bias exists. One of the women I play pickleball with is lefthanded. Not only is she a darn good player she’s a brilliant seamstress. Before moving to Las Cruces, she owned an exercise studio. Her talents are many and varied.
Still, I couldn’t help wondering . . . Really? Discriminate against someone who is left-handed? What is it with human nature that makes society fear someone different? I could elaborate ad nauseam on this subject, but let’s stick to lefties for the time being. According to the article, ninety percent of the world is right-handed.
At one time teachers tried to re-train left-handed students to use their right hands. Incidentally, the article also said that left-handers had far more success in switching hands than right-handers. (As someone who broke her arm in 1979 and was forced to do everything with my left hand, I can attest this is a true statement). Experts also said that in some cases, children forced to vie away from using their dominant hand suffered learning disabilities, including dyslexia, stuttering, and other speech impediments.
Superstition abounds regarding people born left-handed. Everything from lower IQs, bad luck, cleanliness, to the belief that right-handed people are stronger and live longer than left-handed people. Many left-handed people become ambidextrous to offset a right-handed world where products (think scissors, computer input devices, video game controllers, knives, cameras, musical instruments, weapons, the list goes on.) In sports, a left-handed player is known as a Southpaw.
Of all the things we’ve discriminated against, I found discriminating against left-handed people the most absurd. And yet we did.
Yesterday, August 13, was International Left-hander’s Day. https://www.lefthandersday.com The website is designed to raise awareness of everyday issues that lefties face in a world designed for right-handers.
Here’s another link I found fascinating. International Left-Handers Day 2023: Check Here What’s Make Left-Handers Unique (msn.com)