We often get messages from club members around the world telling us about their experiences and how left-handers are treated in their country. We were recently shown an article about how left-handedness is seen in Asian countries and how it is largely suppressed in a lot of places.
In South Korea, for instance, left-handedness has long been associated with impurity — giving or receiving items must be done with the right or both hands, never the left. One lady commented “When I have to write or sign something — a sales slip, for example, the proprietor hands me the pen with their right hand, as usual, and I accept with my right hand to be polite. They then watch in amazement as I switch hands, sign left-handed, switch hands again, and hand back the pen with my right”.
While 5.8% in South Korea are left-handed, China has less than 1%. While one argument asserts that many Chinese characters require the use of the right hand, a 2013 study by Howard Kushner, professor at the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education at Emory University, noted that this could be due to a combination of reasons.
“In China, we can see how a combination of traditional values and practical considerations seems to have merged to reduce both the actual and reported prevalence of left-handedness. When we add in the population of India, and much of the remaining Islamic world, we can conclude that for two-thirds of the world’s population, being born left-handed exposes one to discrimination and stigma.”
That’s an awful lot of people having problems in their lives due to being born left-handed!