Left-handed discrimination: an actual problem

Austin Book

I sat down in a booth at Olive Garden with my family. I didn’t wander fully into the booth because I sat next to my sister. I politely let my sister enter the booth before I sat down, so I could sit at the edge of the table. I had to sit at the edge of the table, so I didn’t bump her with my left arm when I inevitably devoured my meal. This ordeal is tiresome, but it is something that I put up with because I am left-handed.

  About 1 in 10 people are left handed. Left-handers are at an unfortunate disadvantage because the world is naturally designed for right-handers. Left-handed discrimination is rarely discussed – so, I will discuss the issue on beha
lf of my fellow left-handers. Left-handed discrimination is an actual problem that the world needs to address.

  The most common headache of being a left-hander is writing, which is designed for right-handers. The design of writing supports reading the information from left to right, so the person who probably established this was probably right-handed. If I was in charge of creating the initial system, then the language design would naturally be from right to left. Yet, the sheer idea of changing up the structure by making the words go from right to left gives most people, including myself, a headache. Reading the words from right to left is fundamentally against the way we were taught. Still, left-handers are already at a disadvantage once they begin to write due to the writing construct.

  When I write, my biggest problem is constantly smudging the text. This problem is most apparent when I am required to use a pen. On the AP exam for AP Language & Composition, I remember feeling nervous during the exam because I was smudging the text. I had to be very cautious in order to make sure that I didn’t IMG_1568smudge the text too much for the AP grader to read the paper. Thankfully, that is a rare example. Still, at the end of each day, I almost always have a layer of lead on my hand from writing.

  In the future, this problem should be eradicated. While left-handers will always be at a basic disadvantage, special pencils and pens, like Stabilo’s brand of left-handed pencils, accommodate left-handers. These pencils and pens cost much more than a regular pencil. A Stabilo left-handed pencil is $12.95. Almost all right-handed pencils are under $1. It’s unfair for left-handers to have to pay over 12 times more for a pencil designed for left-handers. The price tag should be much more affordable, so left-handers could buy multiple pencils without paying the equivalent of a grocery bill. Having specific left-handed pencils and pens would erase all of those annoying smudge marks left on the hands of left-handers.

  Smudging ink is annoying to left-handers, but cutting with scissors is practically IMG_1579unbearable. To be clear, I’m referring to right-handed scissors because left-handed scissors are scarce. Nonetheless, I can’t cut straight to save my life. I’ve had this problem since elementary school. Even now, if someone asked me to cut something out, I would immediately feel anxious because cutting things out is an unpleasant experience. I’m able to cut with some right-handed scissors – but, in probably 1 out of every 10 scissors, I am literally unable to use them altogether. People always tell me to try and cut with my right hand. Trying to cut with my right hand is strenuous. The utter suggestion is similar to suggesting a right-handed pitcher to throw with his left hand in a game. And, would anyone suggest that? No, because that would be a huge mess. When I use scissors, it’s usually a mess.

  Accessing left-handed scissors is downright exasperating. No one has scissors for left-handers or at least not anyone that I know. It should be mandatory for each teacher, whose students regularly use scissors, to have at least one left-handed pair of scissors. If 1 out of every 10 students are left-handed, then buying a pair of scissors or two for a left-hander shouldn’t be a problem.

  When people are more aware of how left-handers are discriminated against, they will notice little things like that many of WO’s desks are designed for right-handers. Not all desks at WO are IMG_1572designed this way, but many of the desks are. The desks are designed to have a bar on the right side of the desk. The design of the desks would be semi-understandable if some of the desks were designed for left-handers too. But, there are no left-handed desks. Resting an arm on those desks for a left-hander is inconvenient as the armrest is on the right side. Left-handed people naturally face the opposite direction. Also, if I want to casually rest my foot on my left knee, then my leg position will conflict with the bar leading to an awkward position. The desks that we have need to be neutral for both hands.

  Most left-handed problems are seemingly small, but the collective small problems add up to a serious issue. The differentiation between a left-hander and a right-hander should not be an issue. The main problems that I emphasized were issues that left-handers primarily face in the classroom. Each of these problems can be easily fixed. To all the teachers who care about their left-handed students: please buy those obscure left-handed pens and pencils, please buy those slightly more expensive left-handed scissors, and please join me in protest against discriminatory desks. I am just one voice representing the 740 million other left-handers.