Left-handed voices deserve to be heard


Illustration by Lillie Busch.

With all of the division currently in America, people are failing to hear an almost-silent minority suffering in the sidelines. Left-handed people have been the butt of the joke for far too long, and we deserve to be heard.

Imagine not being able to cut a straight line or use a knife properly. Imagine having constant ink smudges on your hands and never being able to use a notebook, binder or whiteboard to its full potential. This is the plight of a left-handed student. Nothing was built with a left-hand or uni-hand theme.

Sure, we have left-handed scissors, notebooks and other non-essentials, but they are far more expensive than their right-handed counterparts. Why should items like left-handed notes be over $40 for a pack of six with 100 pages on Amazon and the right-handed counterpart be $30?

Much like the pink tax, a feminist argument that women pay more for items that are specific to women, there is a left-handed tax that is grossly unfair. Like a troll under a bridge, companies make the same item and force people to spend more just to be more comfortable.

This may seem like an unfair comparison, but when items are marked up due to the supply and demand structure we operate in, it can be an issue. You may say, “What is an extra $10 here or there?” But there is an availability issue as well. Walk into any store in America, no matter what for, and there is a distinct lack of left-handed tools.

Speaking of tools, what about trade tools like cameras, instruments, knives, etc.? As a photographer, I have personally noticed the build of cameras complementing a right-hand bias. A quick search on both Nikon and Canon’s websites as well as multiple camera shops produced no leads on a left-handed camera. Luckily, I can manage pressing my shutter button on the right, but it shows a lack of consideration.

Left-handed musicians are also at a disadvantage. A new Fender American professional telecaster is slightly over $1,000 on Reverb, an online shop similar to eBay that caters to musicians, while the same guitar in a lefty form is $1,500. To a struggling musician, the extra $500 goes a long way.

If you are right-handed, you will never know the humiliation that is being taught to tie knots in the Boy Scouts or not being taught correct stances in sports like baseball or boxing. Some southpaws, like myself, are lucky enough to have enough coordination to use their right hand for sports, but others are not so lucky.

Moving past the petty squabbles of materials and tools, left-handed people operating heavy machinery are far more likely to get into accidents. I wouldn’t want to die on a forklift or in a train accident just because I favor the non-popular hand.

Not only is it inconvenient to be left-handed in the modern day, but it also was arguably even more than an everyday inconvenience to historically left-handed people. Everyone has heard the story of the young writer slapped on the wrist every time he picked up the pencil with the devil’s hand.

The act of repressing a child for choosing one hand could lead to not only poor handwriting, but also psychological damage and self-esteem issues.

I am not trying to equate left-handedness to minorities, but the fact that we were looked down upon at all is highly ridiculous. In Latin, the word for sinister literally translates to “left.” It is no coincidence that the idea of left was frowned upon in many ancient cultures.

When someone is another person’s right-hand man they are the person that will always be there, yet there is no analogy for the left-hand man. Lefty means sinister, clumsy, gauche, dubious and awkward. Yes, I am awkward, but my choice of hand does not make that so.

For those who wish to punch back from this article, remember that I have a distinct advantage as a southpaw in boxing, so just write a letter to the editor about how much this article was a waste of time, and remember I agree with you, yes you, personally about whatever opinion you have on the left-right debate.