Superb Southpaws: The Left-Handed People of Bronx Science

Only ten percent of the world’s population is left-handed, meaning that the majority of lefties live in a right-handed world. Throughout history, left-handers were discriminated against in many ways. Now that lefties are very much accepted in today’s society, it seems like a good time to take a look at the lefties of Bronx Science and their experiences.


Supposedly, left-handed people are associated with creativity aKseniya Lapteva / Unsplash

Around 10% to 12% of the world’s population is left-handed, as is the case with this watercolor artist.

Walking down the hallways of Bronx Science, you see thousands of faces light up. In this diverse environment, there are many different types of people- from all types of ethnic backgrounds and walks of life, short and tall, young and old, ninth graders, seniors, and all in between.

Once you finally reach your math class, you sit in your usual seat and unpack your bag, grab a pencil and your notebook, start writing down what the teacher has put on the board, and notice something that you have seen, but haven’t fully processed. The teacher is using their her hand, and you notice that apparently, the classmate sitting next to you is also left-handed! In fact, left-handed people are a minority in the school — albeit a very silent minority. Most of the time, lefties aren’t noticed unless observed closely, but if you pay attention, you may realize that there are more lefties around you than you might have thought.

Left-handed people make up around 10% of the world’s population. Being left-handed has an extremely unique history, as the majority of the world has had superstitions and theories on why some people deviated from the right-handed norm. The word “left” originates from Middle English, meaning weak and tired. In other languages such as Greek, French, and Latin, left also has similar meanings, usually not very pleasant.

The phrase “two left feet” denotes someone’s clumsiness and awkwardness while dancing, and there are many other words that come from languages throughout the world. There have been many instances in history where people were punished simply for writing with their left hands. According to Christian legend, the left hand was associated with the Devil, as that was the hand used to summon him. Centuries ago, students at schools would get beaten into using the “correct hand,” and people who were left-handed would even be accused of witchcraft.

Nowadays, the discrimination has mostly ended, but left-handed people still face daily inconveniences. Lefties may not need to worry about being accused of being a witch, or in league with the worst deities in existence, but there are still many obstacles that the majority of lefties deal with on a daily basis.

While this information may be unsettling, there are definitely special perks that come with being left-handed. While many parts of the world consider left-handedness to be a disadvantage, the history is far more nuanced than people may think. For example, lefties have always been associated with creativity and intuition. In Incan society, lefties were actually considered to have spiritual abilities that were unique to their people. It has always been said that left-handed individuals are extremely proficient at visual arts and abstract thinking, with examples such as Picasso, Da Vinci, Einstein, and Beethoven. Even though there are millions of lefties in the world that have come and gone, the explanation for this occurrence remains unknown.

Due to being the world’s dexterous majority, It is not surprising that most Bronx Science students and staff are right-handed. Even though there are few lefties, being left-handed in school does not affect the daily lives of students. As a left-handed person, I can confirm that this is true. Though school life as a lefty is very normal, there are still some minor inconveniences that some students (and perhaps some teachers) experience. 

One of the most universal inconveniences that most lefties go through is the seating arrangements that don’t adequately accommodate lefties. A lot of the time when a right-handed person and a left-handed person sit next to each other, they must always arrange themselves so that the lefty is sitting at the left side of the seat, for fear of making uncomfortable elbow contact with each other. Furthermore, specific types of desks in schools are also rather uncomfortable for lefties. The majority of the armrests in school desks are placed to the right, meaning that lefties will not have a place to rest their arm whilst they do their assignments.

Regarding this point, Shaun Karani ’23 said, “Sharing desks with right-handed people can also be inconvenient for left-handed individuals. In many classrooms and workplaces, desks are designed for right-handed individuals, with the writing surface on the right-hand side of the desk. This can be uncomfortable and make it difficult for left-handed individuals to take notes, write, or use a computer mouse.” Luckily, this is not a big problem for many left-handed people, but it does pose the question of whether lefties will ever get more accommodations in school.

However, Bronx Science’s students also feel that there are many positive aspects of being left-handed. “One example of this is the success left-handed people see in sports and athletics.” One theory to this is that left-handed people have brains that are wired slightly differently than right-handed people. Lefties tend to be more controlled by their right-brain hemispheres, which affects both handedness and visual-spatial awareness, which is required in sports.

Lefties also tend to have a greater advantage in athletics, as most opponents are not adapted to competing against left-handed people.  Take boxing and baseball for instance — most boxers are not used to defending themselves against a left dominated stance as opposed to the average right-sided stance, and left-handed baseball players are able to get a better view of the baseball as it is coming towards them. This athletic advantage is especially useful to Bronx Science’s student-athletes. Sydney Siskind ’23 is on Bronx Science’s Girls’ Varsity Tennis team, and she is also a proud lefty. When asked about her tennis experience as a lefty, she said, “It provides an athletic advantage against opponents, and it just generally is pretty fun to have a different dominant hand than most people — because when you find another left-handed person, there’s an understanding similar to an inside joke that only you both know about.” 

The left-handed people at Bronx Science all have varying interests and dynamic lives. Even though everybody’s experiences are different, one thing that these unique students can agree on is the fact that their uniqueness is arguably the greatest thing about their difference. As Marco Giodano ’24 said, “It’s nice to know you are part of 10% of a global population.”

From having athletic and creative advantages, to having a built-in icebreaker or conversation starter, being left-handed is pretty great, despite all its downsides. Though there is no official Bronx Science lefty community, every lefty at the school has had a moment of camaraderie when they discover someone else they know is left-handed. Being part of such a unique group of people in the world brings an element of spice to school life that most of us lefties would never trade for the world. Perhaps, being left-handed is just right for us.

As Marco Giodano ’24 said, “It’s nice to know you are part of 10% of a global population.”