Sheree A. Bradford-Lea (SABL)
Cartoonist, Provider of Happy Arts,
'Cures for a Crabby Day'
Awareness Day Is
Learning Is A
Welcome to The Left-Handed Lowdown Newsletter!
The 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 Left-Handed Lowdown provides information hand over fist!
Please note: Have
fun, but don't copy.
All cartoons, other
artwork and content
contained on this
website are the
creations of Sheree
copyright 2017, for
only, on this site
For all inquiries
please Contact Me.
RHD Privilege, and What ‘Going Along To Get Along’ Costs A Left-Handed Person
advantage, since my brain would constantly have to compensate for working backwards, which would slow down my
reaction time. The backwards placement of the buttons would also lead to more mistakes in general. My right-handed
friend then pointed out it was no big deal. I replied that it wasn’t a big deal for my friend, since I would be the one
disadvantaged. My right-handed friend then huffed that if I didn’t want to play video games I should just say so. I
replied that I would love to play video games, but the manufacturers won’t make left-handed video controllers, and they
won’t listen to requests from left-handed people for left-handed controllers, so they are stopping me from playing. My
right-handed friend, still clearly irritated, changed the subject.
Frankly, it was tempting to say: “Oh, okay, I’ll try.” I almost did, but then the thought of yet another right-handed person
enjoying themselves with a tool that works, while laughing at the left-handed person’s awkward and frustrated attempts
to play a game with a tool that doesn’t work—that’s what stopped me. Because by refusing to comply, by naming the
manufacturer’s refusal to make a left-handed tool as the problem, it meant I wasn’t the only one with a problem, a right-
handed person was being inconvenienced too.
Of course, it also opened me up to RHD privilege victim blaming, the huffing and puffing when the left-handed person
doesn’t ‘go along to get along’. The victim blaming isn’t surprising, since right-handed people are taught from birth
that their RHD is to be respected, and LHD isn’t. My finding speaking up being difficult to do isn’t surprising, since left-
handed people are taught from birth that their LHD is to be excused, ignored, not taken seriously, told when and where
they can and should be left-handed by right-handed people.
It’s not like left-handed people never ever speak up, even though they’ve been suppressed since before they can
remember. Left-handed people approach manufacturers (including video game manufacturers), they contact educators
and politicians. The same patronizing comments come back, that ‘it’s a good idea, thank you, but at the present time…’
Sometimes, the line is given that ‘there are much more important needs to consider rather than left-handed people’s
needs, since they only make up only 10% to 15% of a population’.
Really? Yet, if even one right-handed person is injured and can’t use their right hand fully anymore and are forced to
switch to LHD the rush to give them sympathy and specific tools that will work for them is dizzying. There’s no
discussion about how many are affected, it’s enough that even one person should have to work with ineffective tools.
And of course that’s the way it should be.
But left-handed people are always in the position of having to ‘prove it’, even though left-handed people are part of
a defined, significant minority of any population that did not become injured in some way; they are, in the words of
Lady Gaga ‘born that way’. And because this is a left-handed person’s birthright, they get no consideration—unless a
right-handed person deems that they should. It’s the very definition of RHD privilege, and LHD powerlessness.
For society to start to equalize, LHD people have to be seen as a valuable market for manufacturers, since business
tends to drive politicians and others to take needs seriously. Vision differences that require prescription lenses and
allergies are two examples.
Of course, this attitude of taking left-handedness seriously isn’t completely the arena of right-handed people. Some
left-handed people have bought into the attitude that LHD isn’t to be respected or considered by managing to more
or less learn using the only tools that were available. They eagerly join right-handed people discussing whether a left-
handed person needs a particular tool to be left-handed by chiming in that they were able to learn okay on a right-
handed tool, which basically confuses the issue, and sends mixed messages to right-handed people.
And when you think of it, so what if that one left-handed person was able to learn something using an ineffective tool?
If you told people the only way they could get to the store for groceries was to do back-flips all the way there some
would be able to learn, others would do it with difficulty, and others would starve to death. If a left-handed person uses
the only tools available and is somehow able to more or less make do with it, it means they were able to make do,
nothing else. It reminds me of the old sexist argument (that was sometimes supported by women) that women couldn’t
be bosses because there were no women’s washrooms on the executive floor, an attitude that was obviously wrong,
and now seems ludicrous, but was real at one time and took a lot of persistence to change.
Because of an archaic attitude towards left-handed people society loses out economically as well as socially.
Left-handed people are actually a valuable potential market, since they are at all economic levels, including the most
moneyed, parts of any society. Left-handed people are a significant minority, and left-handedness is a genetic trait that
has always persisted, and always will persist. But since left-handed people are not seen as valuable, have little to no
access to tools that work, and are told constantly what a nuisance they’re being if they even say they need a
left-handed tool in order to complete a task, the acceptable response to any new task in which there are only right-
handed tools available becomes: “Okay, I guess I’ll try it”. Because, much like Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, the
alternative is not to be allowed to play those reindeer games. And that’s wrong on so many levels, especially in a day
and age where manufacturers brag about how easy it is to manufacture anything.
So where do we go from here? There are ways to stop the RHD privilege bulldozer, but it will take effort.
Left-handed people have to stop ‘going along to get along’, even if they’re victim blamed, and stick up for one
It has to be generally viewed as wrong that right-handed people can discuss whether a left-handed tool or
consideration is needed or important. It is not their group. And asking one left-handed person to speak for all is not a
solution. Sensitivity is.
Articles explaining the ‘pains of being left-handed’ as though left-handedness is an interesting, laughable curiosity
need to be seen as wrong attitudes. Articles need to address left-handedness like any other genetic difference, one that
needs to be respected, and have historical injustices acknowledged, with the intent of having those injustices changed.
Because as long as right-handed people are never challenged or inconvenienced, as long as they are seen as the
ultimate authorities on what a left-handed person needs and doesn’t need, nothing will change. Coupled with this, as
long as left-handed people down-play their basic need for the same effective tools right-handed people get, and allow
themselves to be talked into using ineffective right-handed tools, there will be no reason for left-handed people to get
the tools they need, and seen as equally valuable members of society who do things differently.
And a world that continues to consider these members of society as less than equal is a lop-sided society
no left-handed person—or right-handed person—should want to be a part of.
There are all kinds of privilege out there, making this still a lop-sided world.
These privileges are correctly pointed out. But one privilege that is routinely
dismissed, yet one that cuts across all but one majority group, is the privilege
that is granted to anyone born right-handed. At a point in time where
conversations about inequality are being avidly engaged in, it is inconceivable
that left-handedness wouldn’t be included, since every person uses their
hands for almost every task, every day; yet, that is the case. Being in a
minority doesn’t help, because it’s easy to point at the one or two left-handed
people in a group of predominantly right-handed people as being
abnormalities rather than representatives. But what’s more troubling is the
ongoing privilege accorded to right-hand dominant people, where needs are
still constantly addressed and even anticipated, while left-handedness is seen
as an affectation, not need-based, something to be gawked at and then
dismissed. This large, lop-sided inequality is right-hand dominant, or RHD
Here’s an example of this privilege, something that happened to me recently.
Sound familiar, left-handers?
A friend of mine invited me to play video games. I said there was no point,
since the manufacturers of video game controllers only make right-handed
controllers, and I’d need a left-handed one. My right-handed friend
proceeded to helpfully point out that I could just use it backwards, it wouldn’t
be hard. I pointed out that playing backwards would give my friend the
|Please note: Have fun, but don't copy. All cartoons, other artwork and content contained on this website are the creations of
Sheree Bradford-Lea, copyright 2018, for viewing enjoyment only, on this site only. For all inquiries please Contact Me.