WHAT I’VE LEARNED FROM BEING LEFT-HANDED
Okay, I know this sounds like the title to an elementary book report on a pretty non-controversial topic, but please bear with me for a few minutes. I agree that being left-handed is one of the safer minorities of this world. In actuality, most people won’t realize that someone is of the left-handed population, and, if they do, it doesn’t change much. However, there are a few things that I’ve noticed in my left-handed life that I think might expand themselves into a more generalized way of looking at majorities and minorities.
This is my disclaimer paragraph. As is hopefully obvious throughout this article, left-handedness lends itself to satirical statements. I’m not complaining about being left-handed. Actually, I have enjoyed being perceived as more artistic and imaginative than my right-handed neighbors (one of the untrue generalizations that works in my favor). With that, I will continue with these observations about the dynamics of left-handed and right-handed people.
1. Nobody from the majority cares. People who are right-handed generally do not notice lefties until they find out a relative is one or until a lefty is in their way.
2. The minority gets blamed for accidents even when both parties are at fault. Watch a left-handed and a right-handed person eat next to each other and see who makes an effort to stay out of the way and respect elbow space.
3. The world is designed against the minority in order to cater to the majority. Everything—from notebooks to serrated knives—is made specifically for right-handed people. Accidents and ink stains are more likely for lefties due to these designs (see item #2).
4. Respect is denied to the minority and granted to the majority. When was the last time you shook someone’s left hand?
5. The minority is etymologically discriminated against. In Latin, the word for left is “sinister;” in French, it is “gauche;” in Hebrew, it is “shemo’l,” which can also mean unwholesome or unlucky.
6. The Bible can be used against the minority. The tribe of Benjamin was probably largely left-handed as their weapon of choice was slingshots. They were nearly wiped out—a common sign of divine disapproval.
7. Nobody from the majority cares. Even after reading this, are you really going to do anything?
I know that being left-handed is far from being oppressed. However, it is hopefully a way to do some creative thinking about the more serious topic of the treatment of minorities and majorities in our society. I hope being left-handed will raise my awareness of how I act as part of many majority populations, and perhaps this light-hearted list will foster some reflection in your life as well.