An Open Letter to All Lefties


Picture this: It’s a Monday morning, and you’re in Mr. Everhart’s AP Bio class. Out of left-field, Mr. E tells you that left-handed people are the “spawn of Satan.” Weird, huh? But he’s not wrong.

The Latin word “sinistra” actually means “left,” but over time it evolved to mean “evil,” explaining how we got the word “sinister.” The French word “gauche” can mean both left and clumsy. Bias against lefties even goes so far as to depict paintings of the devil using his left hand. Unsurprisingly, many cultures consider left-handedness to be unlucky. For instance, in Asian countries it is considered bad luck to write with one’s left hand, thus many children are forced to learn to write with their right hand. A 2007 study conducted in Taiwan found that about 59.3% of children in the study were converted to right-handedness as a part of their schooling.

Despite the superstitious theories, the real reasoning behind forcing children to use their right hands has more to do with convenience. In China, students using their left hand to write Chinese characters in ink would smear their letters, leading people to believe it was impossible to write the characters correctly with one’s left hand. Even in America teachers used to force students to learn to write with their right hands because lefties too often smeared their pencil markings. Plus it’s simply easier to instruct students on how to draw letters when the entire class is using the same hand. In the end, bias against lefties has more to do with practicality.

Even inanimate objects seem to be biased against lefties by design. This isn’t because entrepreneurs and inventors decided to make their products only for right-handers as a stand against “evil” left-handers but rather because it was just more practical to make only one design of a product. Some products may have overlooked the existence of lefties, but that can’t really be proved. Regardless, products such as scissors, guitars, binders, can openers, refrigerator doors, and cameras seem to be inconsiderate of left-handers. One example at DHS would be our news desks, some of which have a wider side to accommodate the student’s arm when writing. However, the wide edge is on the right side of the desks, leaving lefties with little room on the left side of the desks. Although I myself am not a lefty, I sympathize with those who must awkwardly fumble around a world that seems to be designed only for righties.

If you are a lefty, the good news is that you’re not alone. In fact, you’re in good company! Babe Ruth, Barack Obama, Bill Gates, Marie Curie, Mozart, Da Vinci, Rafael Nadal, Larry Bird, and Lionel Messi, are all lefties who found their way to the top in a righty dominated world. Sometimes being left-handed is an advantage. In sports, a left-handed player may have an advantage by being the minority. For example, it is difficult to defend against left-handed hitters in volleyball and it is difficult to hit against a left-handed pitcher in baseball especially if the batter is right-handed.

So after a long discussion of the history of being left-handed, I just have one question for any lefties out there: as a lefty, would you consider yourself inherently evil?