Ostracised, discarded and cast-aside
Until recently left handed people were historically forced as children to use their right hands for tasks where they would naturally use their left hand. Presumably along with millions of other left handers in the last decade, I experienced this at school being caned when writing with my left hand. This still happens in some countries now.
In many parts of the world, the left hand is considered unclean or rude to use. If you’re left-handed and in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Nepal or the Middle East, it’s thought as rude behavior to eat, pick up or hand over things with your left hand.
Even language proves that left handers get a bad rap. In French, “gauche” can mean “left” or “clumsy”. In English the word ‘left’ comes from the Anglo-Saxon word ‘lyft‘, meaning ‘weak’. “Right” also means “to be right”.
Left handed people have been considered unlucky and even evil – the word “sinister” comes from the Latin word for left. In the Middle Ages, lefties were associated with the devil and often accused of the crime of witchcraft, meaning they would get burned at the stake.
The left and right side of the brain
The brain is cross-wired, meaning that the right side controls the left side of the body and vice versa. Scientists at the University of Oxford say that the brains of left handed people work differently than right-handed people.
Scientists say the two sides of the brain were better connected in lefties and more co-ordinated, particularly in the areas that involve using general creativity.
A person who is left hand dominant uses the right side of their brain more, while a person who is right hand dominant uses their left brain more.
So, if you are also left handed you might find yourself with a slightly unusual way your brain is organised and therefore take pride that suddenly being left handed gives you skills that other people don’t have.