Simon Silverberg is a sophomore from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He intends to major in Public Policy and considers himself a certified American history nerd. Like many, his interest in politics was sparked by the Presidential election of 2008. He participated in his high school's student government, interned for a Louisiana Governor's race campaign, and is also a Stambaugh RA. Simon is particularly interested in the areas of international trade policy, environmental regulation and political rhetoric. His favorite twitter personalities include Nate Silver, Colin Cowherd and Keith Olbermann. Though from the deep South, Simon is an avid New York Mets fan. (long story)
Let’s face it Vanderbilt: being right-handed is under attack. During my over two and a half years at Vanderbilt, I have been dismayed by the lack of attention paid to this issue. If we really pride ourselves as being a campus of equity and equality for all, why have so many of us remained silent? Five of the last eight US Presidents have been left-handed, yet only about 10% of the population is. How dense do you have to be to not see this as an issue?
There are undoubtedly some critics out there who do not see this as a real problem, but I am not concerned with those privileged few. College itself is a time for bridging gaps between communities on campus, not clustering into a corner with those who have the same dominant hand as you. Working through our inherent differences, hearing voices we have avoided in our past lives, and yes, perhaps even trying to write with your non-dominant hand is the essential to the spirit of Vanderbilt. But we have a long way to go.
Lots of you must be wondering about what I am talking about, and to be fair, I am not surprised. These facts you are about to hear aren’t in the packets they hand out during move-in.
As previously mentioned, a ridiculously disproportionate ratio of US Presidents has been left-handed, but it does not stop there. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Prince William, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Oprah, Bieber, Lamar Odom, Isaiah Thomas, Mike Weir, you guessed it…. all lefties. Many believe that polar bears are left paw dominant.
You may be thinking: “How does this affect life at Vanderbilt?” Well buckle up, pal.
The stress filled weeks of Vanderbilt often leave us with only one thing to look forward to: the weekends. And during the Fall semester, weekends are often defined by Vanderbilt football. Saturdays should be a time for left-handers, right-handers, and ambidexters to cheer on the Commodores together, but it is far from that. The student section at Vanderbilt curves towards the right in a counterclockwise fashion. Thus, the person to your right is slightly out in front of you and the person to your left is slightly behind you. So when you raise your hand to celebrate a 4th down stop or a touchdown, us right-handers are more inclined to accidentally hit a person next to us, and possibly start an altercation. Is this what the administration wants for us?
But certainly there can’t be that many more examples, you say?
Ever since I can remember, nothing has captivated my livelihood, wellbeing, and blood pressure levels as much as a Rand bowl. Tuesdays or Thursdays at 12:20, we have all the seen the spectacle of Vanderbilt students waiting in line for bowls as if they are giving free Bain internships. I want to enjoy bowls, but I am right handed dammit. And which way does the line curve while ordering your bowl… oh right, to the left.
How about inside the classrooms, is anything impacting the grades of right handers?
Absolutely – walking into a large lecture style class, we are greeted with the familiar sight of movie-theatre style chairs with desks attached to them that must be flipped up. Yet, at the end of the rows things get quite absurd. When facing the front of the room, the chairs on the end of the rows have desks that are on, oh yes, the left side of the chair. Thus, not all of the chairs have the desks attached in a way that benefits me the most, and that’s not fair. What about me??
Friends, I was quite shocked with all of these issues I discovered. I placed a call to the Vanderbilt’s residence, the Biltmore. The secretary who answered my call did not even given me a number for me to get into contact with Cornelius Vanderbilt. The gall.
Surely, you can’t be serious. I am serious, and don’t call me not serious.
Telling people around campus about the issues that right-handed people suffer often leads to snickers and disapproving looks. Yet, I am okay with that. Figuring out my passions and convictions has led me to write this article – it’s what I know is right.
Leaving this problem for future generations of Vanderbilt students to solve is a dishonor to those in our lives that helped us get to where we are. We are the ones we have been waiting for.
Together, we can stand up to support those of right-handedness.
[Image Credit: http://dumbledoresarmyroleplay.wikia.com/wiki/Category:Handedness]