“Oh, You’re Left-Handed?”
June 30, 2010 3 Comments
“I’m a left-handed person living in a right-handed person’s world.” –Eric C.
I am here to stay that I am definitely proud to say that I am left-handed and would not change that for anything in the world. However, I think that a lot of my counterparts see me being left-handed as abnormal, or even weird. There’s nothing wrong with being predominantly left-handed; I feel that there’s a lot of misconceptions of being left-handed.
From the time that I was a small kid up until now, when people saw me writing with my left-hand, the responses would be, “Oh, I didn’t know you were left-handed”, “Is there something wrong with your right-hand?”, “Why don’t you write with you other hand?”. As a child, many people had the perception that I was socially immoral for using my left-hand to do a lot of daily activities. I even tried writing with my right-hand numerous times growing up. Even though I could write decently with my right hand, I just did not see the point with switching my writing style to another hand in order to feel “right”.
Just until recently, I did not realize the amount of discrimination made toward those that are left-handed. A lot of products that we use nowadays are geared majorly toward right-handed individuals such as scissors, school desks, and even keyboards. When you go to the store, you won’t see something on the label such as “Product made for right-handed people”, they just usually assume that the product should be compatible to both hands. That is not always the case.
There is a misconception that left-handed people are not as smart, uptight, or maintained as right-handed people. What does the following group of well-known individuals have in common: Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, Steve Forbes, H. Ross Perot, Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Issac Hayes, Tim Allen, and Robert DeNiro. You guess it: they are all left-handed. I would conclude that based on their well-tracked success that they don’t have a problem succeeding in the world.
So, how does a person generally become left-handed? Let’s talk about the brain structure first. Our brain structure, which is asymmetrical, is divided into two parts: left hemisphere and right hemisphere. The left side deals with controlling speech and language, while the right side controls emotion and imagination. For a left-handed individual, the brain structure symmetry is flipped around. The right side of the brain controls the body in this instance.
One theory of left-handedness came from the University of Oxford. Scientists discovered in 2007 that the gene LRRTM1 (Leucine Rich Repeat Transmembrane Neuronal 1) plays a role in whether a person will be left or right-handed. According to Doctor Cycle Francks, a co-author of the extensive research project on LRRTM1:
“We think that this gene affects the symmetry of the brain. LRRTM1 is not essential for left-handedness, but it can be a strong contributing factor.”
Being left-handed is definitely a minority, which only makes up approximately anywhere from ten to thirteen percent of the world population depending on surveys and studies you look at online. Does this mean that the same varying percentage of people are “inferior” to right-handed people? Absolutely not. Being left-handed is not a child deficiency, and shouldn’t be treated as such. Left-handed people are not inferior to the right-handed, no matter what myths, generalizations, or stereotypes are out there.