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Home / Articles / Features / The View from Mudsock Heights /  It’s time to stop the bigoted attacks on left-handed people
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Sunday, December 11,2011

It’s time to stop the bigoted attacks on left-handed people

By Dennis Powell

The headline was sad but not surprising:

"The Health Risks of Being Left-Handed: Lefties Face Chance Of ADHD, Other Disorders; Brain Wiring Holds Clues."

The article, published in the prestigious Wall Street Journal, cites "research" which claims that left-handed people – called "lefties" by epithet-flinging bigots in the right-handed majority – aren't quite as good as right-handed people.

Left-handed people, or sinister-Americans as we like to be called (unless we're from some other country), are supposedly more likely to be dyslexic or schizophrenic or suffer from vague "mood disorders," says the foul, rabble-rousing attack, er, story.

"Left-handedness appears to be associated with a greater risk for a number of psychiatric and developmental disorders," the article accuses.

Left-handed children, it says, should be winnowed out for special treatment.

"Experts suggest that left- and mixed-handedness could be used as a risk factor for possible psychiatric or developmental conditions, along with behavioral difficulties, such as having a hard time in school," it says, employing the old slur that the ambidextrous, as well as those who are no good with either hand, are somehow polluted with left-handed blood. "The presence of such risk factors could prompt early evaluation for those conditions, they say."

It also goes out of its way to claim that contrary to popular belief, sinister-Americans are no more intelligent than the right-handed majority.

Discrimination against the left-handed is as old as human history. Even in America, where all are said to be created equal, generations of left-handed children were either forced to deny who they were and write with their right hands or else forced to twist their backs in painful contortion at desks designed for the differently handed. Though not set in America, the award-winning movie "The King's Speech" noted that the crippling stammer experienced by England's King George VI was due in large measure to his being forced as a child to pretend to be someone he wasn't: a right-handed person.

The article suggests that left-handedness is a dysfunction, a disability, caused by something going wrong in the womb. "Several studies show that stressful life events, such as the death of a loved one or job loss, during pregnancy increase the risk of having non-right-handed children," it claims. " Or, it says, perhaps the left-handed were born to mothers who were so old they really shouldn't have been having children at all.

There's more. "Being left-handed is only partially genetic," the story says. How can something be "partially genetic"? Are left-handed people now accused of having partial genes, where perhaps the right-handed have whole ones? Nobelist William Shockley got into a lot of trouble making that sort of claim.

Additionally, the article noted – but did not find anything wrong with – wage discrimination against sinister-Americans: "Left-handed people earn on average 10 percent lower salaries than righties, according to a recent study."

Sinister-Americans have learned to blend in, to make no fuss about their condition. We are forced, really, to deny who we are.

There are government programs for all kinds of minorities. Where are the programs for the left-handed? In the various stimulus packages, where are the set-asides for those left-handed persons who would like to start new businesses? Where are the provisions in the Americans With Disabilities Act for the left-handed? Where is the requirement that all doorways be double doors, to accommodate those who might not reach for the knob with the same hand as the majority do? How many colleges ascertain that their diversity programs include sufficient left-handed representation? Where are the left-handed rights weeks and parades? What month is devoted to left-handed studies and history?

There is none of this. There are not even special left-handed parking spaces (and if there were, they would no doubt be at the back of the parking lot). No, there are just bigoted articles from sinisterphobes who laugh at the plight of the left-handed, say we're not any smarter, claim we're more likely to be crazy.

Oh, yeah, the right-handed world makes use of us when it's to their manipulative advantage, in their baseball games, for instance. We're sent into combat along with the right-handed persons we're expected to defend, but given weapons which eject their hot empty shells to the right, into our faces.

And the right-handed world finds it all very funny.

But just you wait. We may have been silent, but that doesn't mean we've been complacent. Though we're "only" 10 percent of the population, we've been half of the last dozen presidents. In our nation's history, every time a left-handed candidate has gone against a differently handed candidate for president, the sinister-American has won.

We may be few, but we are powerful and, according to "research," sneaky. You might want to stop and think a minute before you make that offhand slur against the left-handed.

You may doubt the power of the minority, but make no mistake: there are more of us than there are lawyers. Some of us are even both.

Makes you think, doesn't it.

Editor's note: Dennis E. Powell was an award-winning reporter in New York and elsewhere before moving to Ohio and becoming a full-time crackpot. His column appears on Mondays. You can reach him at dep@drippingwithirony.com.

 

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REPLY TO THIS COMMENT

Legend in the Old West was that all the criminals were left-handed.  You'll see in a number of Hollywood Westerns someone tell the hero when he goes to confront the bad guy that someone will tell him "Watch out for his left hand."


I was wondering why the WSJ would have such a biased article, then I noticed the first picture next to the paragraph about psychiatric and developmental disorders: Obama.  Of course, a picture of Bush41 appears next to the symmetry/schizophrenia article, so I'm not sure what that says...

 

 

 
 
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