13 August 2013


Image Credit: abcnews
It is quite fascinating the way people stratify and stereotype. If the society frowns at something, it is bad. If tradition forbids it, it is totally destructive. What justifies something being good, bad, acceptable, unacceptable, right, wrong…public opinion? The majority weighed against the minority? 

I was talking to a left-handed and right-handed person today, asking them what they have to say about left-handed people. The right handed fellow referred to left-handers as 'anomalies of the natural evolutionary process in the human species' saying there had been a story of a man who for some reason had his right hand cut and had to make do with his left hand then had passed on the left-handed trait to his child and that was how 'lefties' came to be. He went on to say that left-handed fellows are mutations and that mutation does not affect the larger populace but the minority. I do not know just how true this is but it is obvious that this individual considers left-handers anomalies. The left handed fellow didn't know exactly what to say. He tried to speak for his fellow-men but was ill-prepared for the right-hander's philosophies and theories. I guess that was a reflection of what other left-handers face when they are 'attacked' with theories, philosophies, mythologies etc.

Today is International Left Handers Day and as the custom for some years now, people are calling for awareness of the right of left-handers to be 'different' shedding light on their special abilities, and the challenges they face. As a person who is fortunate to have three brothers who are left-handed and a father who used to be, I had witnessed the struggles of left handed people; my immediate brother claims he cannot eat in the cafeteria without being embarrassed by ogling eyes, and I know of one coming home from school to complain of his teacher forcing him to write and eat with his right hand. I may not know exactly how they feel but I have tried to write with my left hand back then in high school and I can tell you it's not easy to do what you do not have the inbuilt capacity to do. 
Image Credit: storybookapothecary

 Also, the way the brain is lateralized frowns at a change of one's 'preferred' hand to the other. 95% of right handed people have left-hemisphere dominance for language, 18.8% of left handed people have right-hemisphere dominance for language function and another 19.8% have bilateral language functions even within various language functions e.g. semantics, prosody, syntax etc. It is advisable to let a child use whatever hand he/she will in writing or doing other things in order not to mess with the language acquisition and linguistic competence of the child. Teachers, especially in primary schools are known to enforce certain things on their students based on their ideologies; the issue of a 'preferred hand' with which to write is one and left-handers are always at a disadvantage with teachers who either see it as an anomaly which needs to be dealt with, an indulgence on the part of the parents and have convinced themselves that it their duty to correct that or worse…a spiritual problem.

It is my belief that people deserve to be who they are, flaws, weaknesses and all, and that no one should ever determine what is wrong and what is right for anyone especially in situations like this. Change as necessary as it is on some planes of existence should not feature in some; this is one. Left-handers do not deserve to be changed into what some people in the society deem 'acceptable' or 'normal'. If right-handers get to be themselves, left-handers deserve this same chance. Teachers should stop trying to dictate to their students which hand to employ in writing and the education sector should ensure that teachers are taught on how to accept students the way they physically are and deal with any form of discrimination among left-handers and right-handers in the classroom. There should also be an orientation or a sensitization on this issue. Left-handers, just like right-handers deserve to be themselves; they do not deserve discrimination or change.

Mary Ajayi (@Megadoxa)
Paragraphs For International Left handers Day 2013
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1 comment:

  1. I like that you bring up this subject. I'm not left-handed but I use that example in my upcoming book.

    We are who we are. Free to be ourselves.