Standout Author and anti-handist activist Mike Z. Williamson was inspired to action after encountering this troubling discussion of racism:
I agree completely and deeply respect what you’re doing in this post
overall. Because of that, may I please suggest that you rethink your use
of the phrase “tarred by association”? There are some problematic
connotations there. Thanks very much.
– I’m not familiar with the connotations in question, and Google is
failing me. Can you help fill in this knowledge gap for me?
There’s one minority still not given proper respect in language: Left handers. The term “sinister” is still used as an epithet for evil, wrong, unpleasant. Likewise, “gauche” is a reference to rude behavior. People are considered “dextrous” if they have good manual skills.
Why are the negative connotations expressed using references to left handedness, and positive connotations reserved for the right?
Writers, especially in fantasy, usually right-handed, should stop using these prejudicial terms and find terms that are non-handed specific.
This is a worldwide issue. Only about 15% of the population are left handed…. I’m sure most people have never thought of this. They have right-handed privilege, in a world that caters to them.
I’m sure some will dismiss this as a non-issue. I challenge them to go into a store and ask for every household good in a left-handed model. If the store has any, they will have a token one or two of each, not the dozens or hundreds of right handed options. Buy them. Go home and use them in your right hand so you’re using them backward. That’s what it’s like for left handed people every day of our lives.
Politically, I’ve seen conservatives refer to the political right being “correct” and the political left being “wrong.”
Then crack open a book and find the bad guy is “sinister” and the clueless guy is “gauche.” Gee, thanks for that.
“Right” is an acknowledgment of correctness. One gets “left behind.”
I expect there are a number of fantasy writers who are major offenders on this. But if they’re taking steps with racially, culturally, gender and religiously sensitive terms, it would be fair to not use terms derogatory to the left handed minority as well.