The right of lefty

IMG_20130328_171927 ‘The right of lefty’

In San Francisco, March 27th, I took this photo on Lefty’s when I went to the left hand store. This store is located at Pier 39 which is shopping center in San Francisco. Lefty’s sells a great deal of goods for the left handed ranging from scissors to golf clubs. Also, they hang pictures of famous left handed people on the wall. The cap in this image is one of those products. At that time I took this photo since I liked the words put on the cap. The words are ‘I may be left-handed, but I’ m always right’. From the past, the right handed have always accounted for majorities. Thus, people usually see the left handed as being abnormal for the simple reason that they are minorities. For example, though it was a long time ago, in my country, Korea, some parents educated their children to prevent their children from being the left-handed. I think this words means the expression of their suppressed feeling; they are trying to reclaim a proud identity that many stigmatized group go through in response to discrimination.

From this point, Lefty’s can make the loud voice of the minority. This is because in the world everything revolves around the right handed, Lefty’s becomes known for an attraction not only to left-handers but also right-handers like me. And most importantly, they are so proud of their own features and express themselves confidently.

As seeing the image, I have thought of the society that the right of minorities is accepted. In my opinion, the U.S. seeks this kind of society which respects minority, diversity, and individuality. Gruesz also talks about these words in ‘America’. She says, ‘Foodways, cultural practices, and even consumer products are readily made to symbolize the nation’s essence. Such metonyms gesture, in turn, at more abstract notion: Freedom, Liberty, Democracy.’ (Gruesz, ‘America’, p.17) People usually recall theses words, freedom or liberty or democracy, when they think about the image of America. In this sense, the U.S. is still struggling to coincide with the image of America whether they made this image on national purpose or not. This is because true democracy I think comes not from the majority rule but from respecting the minority. And as we can see the example of Lefty’s, America is still working on replacing the image with the reality.

 Manifestos of America-What is the America

It has been always the challenge whether we can define the identity of America as one word. I know it would be difficult for everything to be defined as a just simple word. Especially, America, where all kinds of ethnic group, products and cultures coexist, has too many exceptions to be defined easily. Before I came the U.S., the image of America to me was freedom and democracy. However, I have changed my mind since I lived in Davis. Among those many identities of America, I have mostly felt the words ‘the Salad Bowl’ which was ‘the melting pot’ once. I thought that those who were born in America regard themselves as Americans without doubt. However, it was the wrong idea. Too much diversity sometimes causes the identity crisis. In Davis, I have had many opportunities to meet Asian-Americans than those who are not. I am wondering that if I am not an Asian or if they define themselves wholly as an American, I could have more chance to meet Asian-Americans that those who are not. I do not think I could. In my opinion, those who are in different ethnic groups, even though they were born in America, exist between both countries. For example, my friend who was born in Japan and came here when he was 3-year-old told me that he cannot be a Japanese and also cannot be an American. No matter how long the history of immigrants in America, this challenge still remains. The conflict between diversity and identity will be sustained not only on a national level but also on a personal level

To solve this challenge, we face to another fundamental problem. This problem is accepting the minority who are different from us. Diversity without perception of the minority is meaningless. If the society has regarded my friend as an American without any doubt and treated him equally, he might not be confused about his identity.

The thing is America is not just standing by this old issue. They are struggling to solve this challenge and they will always be.

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3 Responses to The right of lefty

  1. aniyabaker3 says:

    I found your manifesto very compelling. What caught my attention was the text on the hat in the picture you posted. I play basketball and at a tournament I saw the same text on a girl’s basketball shirt. I remember thinking about it for a great deal of time, and seeing it in your manifesto brought back thoughts I had when first being introduced to the left-handed minority. Your example of your Japanese-American friend really intrigued me. The simple fact that individuals have difficulties with identity is an important topic in America. Your very last sentence stating the struggle to solve the challenge between diversity and identity will never be cured was bold, and I liked it. You are very sure on your opinions and this was a great read.

  2. Chen says:

    I think that what you did in the manifesto was excellent and meaningful. You started from your own impressions of America both before and after you came to Davis. You made a comparison between your imagination and the truth. The result was the finding that the U.S. was not only a democratic, free and diverse nation but also a nation with minority ethnic groups who had difficulties in making sure who they are. What makes your work different is that you didn’t stay on the surface of the topic of diversity, diversity. Just as Gruesz says in the article, ‘American carries multiple connotations’, it is a land with one of the richest cultures in the world. Some people may simply notice the phenomena and admire how colorful the American society is. But you had a deeper insight into the problems behind the bright surface. Not the diversity itself, but the confusions of identification along with the phenomena are your focus. That is important and meaningful because we know that the U.S. is a society with various ethnic groups and culture. We may notice the visual differences among color but ignore those obstacles in mentality. Maybe the physical gap can be narrowed by political enforcement, such as giving immigrants the same rights as the original Americans. But the mental gap is totally different from the physical one, which needs even more efforts. Just as Soyoon wrote in the manifesto, ‘my friend who was born in Japan and came here when he was 3-year-old told me that he cannot be a Japanese and also cannot be an American. No matter how long the history of immigrants in America is, this challenge still remains.’

  3. soojinsim says:

    This manifesto was pretty impressive in that first, I saw that hat at the same place last moth in S.F. and second, it is also interesting that you analyzed the U.S’s diversity deeply. When I thought about the diversity of the U.S before reading your article, I just come up with people in U.S. are pretty good at integrating people with various nationality and ethnicity just because U.S. is known as it’s diversity and the fact that there are relatively diverse nationalities and ethnicities than any other countries. It might be the reason why I’m from Korea which has just one ethnicity and has somewhat exclusiveness against others. However, the salient thing was based on their efforts to embrace people who’s different from what so called “original.”
    The example of the lefty store tells that people in the U.S. are putting efforts to accept the difference. The phrase of the hat is very impressive that it shows even if you are a bit different from people by using the opposite side of the hand doesn’t mean determine whether you are wrong or right. Furthermore, ignoring or differentiating people who’s different from you seems more wrong than using an opposite hand to write a word. In Asian countries, especially in Korea, we are educated not to use the left hand when eating and writing because it’s different, and different means wrong. It was surprising that when I first came to the U.S, people doesn’t seem to put much efforts to read other’s countenance. At the same time, they respect each other’s difference more.

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