The Bias Against Lefties Is Real

About 10-12 percent of the global population is left-handed, and in many places around the world, including parts of Africa and India, lefties face discrimination.

Why It's Interesting

There's no question that a number of minorities face discrimination. But when you think about those oppressed groups, you're probably not thinking about left-handed people. So why did a 2013 Smithsonian Magazine article run with the headline "Two-Thirds Of The World Still Hates Lefties." Turns out, stigmas against left-handed people have been around for thousands of years, and are even ingrained in some languages. The Anglo-saxon "lyft" means broken, the German "linkisch" means awkward, the Russian "levja" is associated with untrustworthiness, and synonyms for the Mandarin word are things like incorrect, wrong, and weird. On top of that, according to Discovery News, "In many Muslim parts of the world, in parts of Africa as well as in India, the left hand is considered the dirty hand and it's considered offensive to offer that hand to anyone, even to help."

Smart Graphic

Why It's Relevant

According to Daniel Casasanto, a psychologist at the University of Chicago, the bias towards righties shows up in surprising and weird ways. "His research has shown that politicians, for example, tend to use their non-dominant hand for negative gestures, and parents in recent decades have shown a preference for baby names typed on the right side of the keyboard," explained The Atlantic. "As any left-handed person who's ever struggled with a pair of scissors can attest, the physical world is largely built for righties."

Editors' Picks: Interesting Videos About Handedness

Why People Hate Lefties

But, seriously, why?

Key Facts In This Video

  1. The word "left" comes from "lyft," which means broken. 00:37

  2. A explanation for the discomfort with left-handedness may be that is deviates from the norm, seeing as 90% of people are righties. 01:04

  3. Neurologists and psychoanalysts once believed children should be taught right-handedness, even if it meant tying the left hand behind the back. 01:49

10 Little Known Facts About Left-Handed People

Obama, Clinton and other recent presidents have all been left handed.

Written by Curiosity Staff October 23, 2015

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