Sunday, August 7, 2016

Seven Days Left: Religious discrimination

This is the first of seven items in seven days on left handedness.

Left Handedness and Religious Discrimination

Throughout history, religions have deemed the left hand as being "bad" or "evil", and decreed that those who use the left hand need to be forced to unnaturally change hands.  Such attitudes pervade all societies and all religious cults in every continent - North and South America, Asia, Europe, Africa, Oceania.  And when I say throughout history, I am not only referring to the past.  Religious discrimination against left handed people still happens today in many parts of the world.

Fictions in the abrahamic cults (judaism, christianity and islam) blather about the "right hand of god" as the good side, the "left hand" as the side of the fictional being "satan".  It affects all of society and in language - descriptions (ability or inability), derision of LGBTQIA people and women, and even political terminology.

African countries are mostly either christian or muslim.  In places where ludicrous claims of "witchcraft" are made against people, especially christian countries (e.g. Nigeria, Uganda) left handed people are called "witches" along with the blind, the handicapped and other minorities.  In many countries where christianity was inflicted upon the population in the 18th and 19th centuries, such outdated and ignorant views still persist (e.g. violent laws against lesbian and gay people).

In nearly all islamic countries, people are indoctrinated with the idea that the left hand is the "dirty hand" and the right is the "clean hand".  People ignorantly believe that touching food or giving something with the left hand is considered "disrespectful".  The abuse of left handed children - forcing them to switch hands - is still considered "acceptable".

In many Asian countries, physical violence - falsely labelled "corporal punishment" - is still common practice, even in countries where "corporal punishment" is has been criminalized.  I live and teach in Taiwan where similar attitudes are still pervasive, and have taught in South Korea where it was worse.  Other ESL teachers have reported similar attitudes in Japan, China, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines and other countries.

I am specifically focusing left handed children because they bear the brunt of the abuse faced by left handed people worldwide.  It is the most defenseless with the weakest voices who suffer, and often in the name of religion or "culture".  If you say discrimination against left handed people is "unimportant", if you say "there is no such thing as right handed privilege", then you are saying, advocating and supporting the verbal, physical and emotional abuse of children.

Monday, part 2: Left Handedness and educational discrimination.

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