Welcome to The Lefty Lowdown Newsletter!
The Lefty Lowdown was formed to examine old, incorrect information about left-handedness; examine new,
correct information; use the true information to give support and options; and share effective teaching tips.
This researched information is not only for the at least 1 in 8 wonderful people who are part of the left-handed group;
it is also to inform wonderful right-handed people. The Lefty Lowdown provides information hand over fist!
| April 2018 Lefty Lowdown--The Need For Tools That 'Able', Not 'Disable'
There is an old saying ‘the poor worker blames their tools’. I'd guess this was said by a right-handed
person, talking about their right-handed tools.
But this saying doesn’t hold true for left-handed people, because the tools readily available for hand-related
tasks are made for right-handed use, they just aren’t labelled as such. And because they aren’t labelled, it’s
assumed these tools work well for left-handed people too, even when they don’t, and the solution is to make
left-handed people ‘try harder’, as if somehow that will make the disabling tool work better. In other words,
fix the person, not the tool, which makes no sense.
At this point in time left-handed people are the only group treated as if they are 'disabled', it's not the tools,
it's being left-handed that's the problem, for which there is no solution. It’s worse than being considered
differently abled, because these people get tools to actually help them be more 'able', not less.
Left-handed people are regularly denied left-handed tools that could help, and given right-handed tools
that 'disable', along with justifications like: "You’re better off learning right-handed—well, except for hand
printing" (which doesn’t require a left-handed tool)—justifications made by the very large majority of right-
handed people who have ready access to right-handed tools that 'able' them.
This ‘stuck in the past’ philosophy, which feels left-handed people should learn to work with right-handed
tools, even in a day and age where anything can be quickly and easily manufactured and supplied, is still
justified as ‘being for our own good’.
How ‘for our own good’? Well, this way there will be lots of right-handed tools and instruction books to use
with the right-handed tools, and instructors who know how to teach using the right-handed tools.
What????!!!! So, rather than supply tools that ‘able’ at least 15% of the population, force left-handed people
to work using right-handed tools that disable them. In other words, force left-handed people to work on
daily tasks handicapped by the tools that are supposed to help them succeed.
What is one of the less obvious problems of not getting tools that ‘able’? Once a person has had to train and
work using the wrong tool long enough it’s tough to switch to a tool that could help, due to muscle memory.
Using a ‘disabling’ tool doesn’t make the left-handed person do their best, since the tool won’t let them, but
it’s why left-handed people tend to either quit the task altogether if they can (a concern in itself!) or get used
to doing the task using the ‘disabling’ tool. After years of this a left-handed person may feel they can’t start
using an ‘abling’ left-handed tool now, that they can’t overcome bad training. But as people in sports and
dance know, while bad training is difficult to overcome, the benefits are worth it (note: in this article, it’s
helpful to insert ‘bad tool’ for ‘laziness’).
Of course—and here’s a very big problem at the moment--left-handed people have to be able to get access to
the ‘abling’ tool in order to work on overcoming bad training. At the moment accessibility is foolishly difficult,
and justified using the out-dated ‘it’s a right-handed only world so get used to it’ philosophy.
But it isn’t a right-handed world anymore, it’s an inclusive one. And this is when we have to remember that
an inclusive society means all needs are respected and met, not just the majority. A left-handed person's
need for a left-handed tool is as valid as a right-handed person's need for a right-handed tool—no arguments.
So, what do we need to make this kind of inclusivity happen?
Labels On All Current Tools, Stating Whether They Are Right-Handed, Left-Handed Or Both, With An
Explanation On The Label As To How They Are Right-Handed or not. Why ‘how’? Because there is a sneaky
labelling system where something is labelled ‘ambidextrous’—suitable for left-handed or right-handed—but the
product really is only benefiting the right-handed user. An example of this is ‘ambidextrous’ scissors, which are
scissors that will cut in either hand, but the blades don’t reverse. Because the blades don’t reverse, these
scissors are actually right-handed scissors a left-handed person can use, but still won’t be able to see where
they’re cutting—the tool obscures the cutting line. Since no safeguards currently exist to test products for this
kind of claim these mislabelled tools are going undetected.
Tool Accessibility At All Levels. Left-handed tools need to be readily available in brick and morter stores, as
well as on the internet, but not as ‘specialty’ items, or without a variety to choose from. Learning is too
important to continue to have left-handed tools kept from the large group of left-handed people who need
these tools, not just once in awhile but every single day.
General Inclusivity Education. As wrong as it is, Society in general is used to thinking of left-handed people
as being a problem, used to telling this group they know their needs better, all the while telling them what to
do and when to do it. There is also the belief that left-handed people should have to 'prove' they need a left-
handed tool before they'll be allowed to even have it considered.
These deeply ingrained, disrespectul, discriminatory and damaging attitudes must change now. It won’t help,
for example, to provide left-handed violins to left-handed students, if violin teachers disrespect left-handed
students who use left-handed instruments.
Time to start making this inclusive world happen. It starts with speaking out.
Sheree A. Bradford-Lea (SABL)
Cartoonist, Provider of Happy Arts,
'Cures for a Crabby Day'
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Learning Is A
Did you miss a recent
Lefty Lowdown? Here's
your chance to catch up!
May 2017 - Dominant Hand
and Playing Music
June 2017 - Cozy Work Areas
and Dominant Hand
July 2017 - Is Being
Ambidextrous Really That
August/September 2017 -
The Reality of Finding
Left-Handed Office and School
Supplies, And Where To Find
October 2017 - Dominant
Hand, Dominant Eye,
Dominant Leg: How Do They
November 2017 Maximizing
Scissor Using Success, No
Matter Which Hand You Were
Taught To Use
February 2018 Tips For
Playing The Ukulele
March 2018 The Passing of An
Anti-Discrimination Law that