Every time I see our new President signing another bill, executive order, or other official document I am happy that someone like my young daughter is in such a visible position of power. Both my daughter and President Obama are minorities in this country. Together they are part of a group that is about 10% of the population. They are part of a group that has been discriminated against, and there are still vestiges of bias against them institutionalized in many facets of daily life, including language and occupational accommodations. My daughter and President Obama have been stigmatized as being evil, dirty, less intelligent (though research points to the exact opposite), and prone to early death (though there is debate about the reasons for that as well).
I am not talking about race—though my daughter is Black and President Obama self-identifies as Black.
I am talking about left-handedness.
According to this site of famous lefties, President Obama shares his handedness with seven former POTUSes: James Garfield, Herbert Hoover, Harry S. Truman, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George Bush elder, and Bill Clinton.
Yet left handed people still face obstacles.
If you are right handed, think of using…a camera, a spiral-bound notebook, scissors. Now think of using each of these things with your other hand. This country is still for the most part run by and for right handed people. Meaning the needs of those who are lefties often go unnoticed.
Far be it for me to suggest yet another area of privilege that we need to acknowledge and address. But I think the handedness privilege definitely should be considered for inclusion in our collective consciousness. And Barack Obama’s presidency would be a perfect time for us to start a national conversation of right and left–and not just political right and left. Perhaps President Obama will even see fit to bring up the issue himself to start us talking.
As if he doesn’t have enough on his plate already, right?
(International Lefthanders Day is August 13th.)