If you are left-handed, you know that the world was not made for you. It first dawned on me in grade school when I sat at my desk. It was obviously made for a right-handed person. Then the spiral on the notebook was on the wrong side. And when I wrote left to right, I always got ink or pencil marks on the bottom of my hand!
We lefties have a joke that says, “At least we are in our right mind,” which technically is true. That kind of irritates me though. The right side of my brain controls my left side. I can’t get away from it. Sheesh!
They say that left-handed people are more creative, and that is probably true. We HAVE to be. We drive on the left side of the road, but we yield RIGHT of way. GRRRRR.
If you are a conservative, guess which side you are on? Right! When you say the Pledge of Allegiance, which hand do you place over your heart? Right! If you think outside the box, they say you are “Out in left field.” And that is not a compliment.
Even in the Bible the left symbolized the dark side. When God separates the good from the bad, guess which side the bad ones go on??? Left! Guess which side of God Jesus sits on? Right!
We are “left” out, but it is “right” on.
Historically, the left side, and subsequently left-handedness, was considered negative. The word “left” itself derives from the Anglo-Saxon word lyft, meaning “weak.”
The Latin adjective sinister/sinistra/sinistrum originally meant “left” but took on meanings of “evil” or “unlucky” by the classical Latin era, and this double meaning survives today, and in the English word “sinister”.
Even the word “ambidexterity” reflects the bias. Its intended meaning is “skillful on both sides”. However, since it keeps the Latin root dexter, which means “right”, it ends up conveying the idea of being “right-handed at both sides”.
In Sanskrit, the word “वाम” (waama) stands for both “left” and “wicked.
A “left-handed compliment” is considered one that is unflattering or dismissive in meaning.
I remember stories of people not much older than me that had to learn to be right-handed! Their teachers thought that being left-handed was wrong and they were doing them a favor by teaching them the “right way.” At least I was spared that.
About 15% of the population is estimated to be left-handed. I am not sure what causes it. I had two brothers, both left-handed, and my sister and parents right-handed. Go figure.
I am not really complaining about the biases against lefties. It is what it is. Unfortunately, when someone says “It is what it is,” it is never a good thing….but apparently it is the “right” thing.