Ten percent of the general population of the world is left-handed. The ratio has remained pretty much the same over the last several thousand years. Scientists theorize that the majority of the world developed right-handedness because cooperation would have been beneficial. I guess the rest of us are just contrarians. In competitive sports, left-handedness becomes more common. Being a southpaw gives a player a significant advantage as most of the time right-handed players expect to up against right-handed players.
Being left-handed comes with a fair amount of superstition. One of them was the belief that left-handed people were the servants of the devil in the middle ages (the devil was also a lefty because Jesus was right-handed) For a time lefties didn’t have to worry, after all, most were pretty isolated up until education reforms in the 1900s changed everything.
For a long time the argument had been ‘nature’ if one’s nature is to be uncontrollable or unusual or left-handed, then nothing a person can do can change that. But as education was changed from individualized lessons to an approach on a massive scale, the idea that ‘nurture’ played a role began to be accepted. If one can ‘nurture’ a person to be controlled, normal, or right-handed, then any ‘nature’ can be corrected or made ‘right’. That’s why the 1900s saw a time where teachers would correct lefties by tying their hands behind their back, slapping their left-hands with rulers, and using comments like: “If you’d just be right handed like everyone else you wouldn’t be so stupid / your writing wouldn’t be so illegible / etc.” It took decades before researchers realized that handedness wasn’t a choice, but it was connected to our brains and our genetics. Students that were forced to change might become ambidextrous, but there were also increased issues with stuttering and other learning disabilities as well as poor confidence.
By the time I was in high school, there was only one such incident where my left-handedness posed a problem. The very first day of shop class, the teacher, an old man, instructed us to cut some papers along the dotted line. The only scissors that were provided were right-handed ones. As I recall, he made some comment that left-handedness was no excuse for not doing a great job. My failure to use them correctly and cut the papers resulted in having ten points taken away from my first assignment – I was the only one who did not have a perfect grade. Had I been given left-handed scissors (used the right tool for the right job as he would later have taught) I would have done much better. I’d like to think that I had it much easier than my aunts, uncles, and grandparents who were left-handed because they all lived in the times were left-handedness was viewed as an anomaly that ought to be corrected. I know just how lucky I am in that superstition that is on the way out in America. Sadly, it is alive and well in other countries.
Some people still think that left-handed people are servants of evil. Some people think that left-handed people are unclean or impure. Some people still force left-handed people to change out of a misguided sense of fixing something that is broken in them. Some people still live in a world that is backwards.