Wed. Jun 29th, 2022

Scissors, spiral notebooks, desks, inky hands, and can openers. For most people, this seems like a random and unrelated list of items, but for lefties this list represents a cruel reality that this world was not built for us.
As a left-handed American, or lefty as we are commonly referred to, I have faced many disadvantages throughout my life: getting looks of shock from colleagues when I present my left hand to shake; having my elbow float in the air as I write because the arm of my school desk is on the right side; and not being able to find a good lefty golf club. The inhumanity! Why must I and my left- handed brethren be subjected to these dastardly forms of torture on a day-to-day basis? Why must we be constantly insulted and put down in today’s seemingly accepting culture? There are many places I could point my finger, my left-hand finger, but the true root of this discrimination started long ago.
The persecution of lefties has been around for centuries. This ancient discrimination has entered our culture so deeply that even everyday words harbor ill will towards the left-handed. Let’s begin with the key word itself. The word “left” comes from the Anglo-Saxon word “lyft” which means “broken, weak, or foolish.” Additionally, the Latin word for “left” is “sinister.” “Sinister” gained the negative connotation it has today because Christians believed that those who were born left handed were touched by the devil and therefore evil. This belief was so strong that a lefty wasn’t even allowed to become a priest.
Surprise, surprise; every connotation related to being right-handed is good. The word “right” comes from the Old English word “riht” which means “good, proper, and fitting.” We get the word “dexterity” from the Latin word for right, “dexter.” Dexterity literally means right on both sides, so being dexterous is like having two amazing right hands to work with. Smug bastards.
These inherent prejudices that infect our language have harmed and suppressed the lefty for far too long. So long, in fact, that the bigotry has seeped into our culture. We have “left-handed complements” which is an insult described as a complement. A “left-handed marriage” is when a married man cheats on his wife with a mistress. When dining, any lefty who dares sit to the right of a right-handed person is always blamed for the inevitable bumping of elbows. They are quickly scolded and told to emigrate to the far end of the table like a proud native forced off his or her land.
Why must lefties be subjected to this unwarranted mistreatment? Is it because we make up only 10 percent of the population? Does the vast majority simply guffaw at our small numbers and try to pass it off as proof of superiority? Are right-handed people inclined to put lefties down because they are afraid of them? Despite being such a small percentage of the population, a Saint Lawrence University study found that there are more people with IQs over 140 that are left-handed than there are right-handed. Is right-handed society oppressive to left-handed society because they are jealous of the supreme intellect that left-handers possess? I have no way of proving such a claim, but I think it is safe to say yes.
Perhaps, and this is a longshot here, lefties are partially to blame for their own mistreatment. There are scholars who believe that lefties are one of the last unorganized minorities in society. This lack of organization could be the source of this cultural mistreatment. If a lefty coalition had come together years ago and fought for equality, then maybe I would be able to walk into a classroom and find a left-handed desk right away. Maybe I could get a nice pair of left-handed scissors, the ones with the form fitting orange handles, instead of being forced to use the tiny universal scissors that get hap’hazardly thrown into a bin and are so dull the idea of them actually cutting anything is farcical. Maybe if lefties finally banded together against their right-handed oppressors we could all live in a world where a left-handed person isn’t expected to die nine years earlier than their right-handed counterparts? Until this dream is finally realized I’ll just be a guy with a chip on his shoulder. His left shoulder.
James Weir is a student at West Chester University. He can be reached at JW761614@wcupa.edu. 

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