Assignment—Let’s Be Lefties for a Day!

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This assignment is designed to shift your viewpoint just a bit and hopefully help make clear what it is like to be different from the mainstream of society, as well as how the perception of normality is based on how closely you resemble the majority of people. There are two concepts at work. One is institutionalized discrimination, in which groups or categories of people are placed at some level of disadvantage by the normal way that society operates. The other is the fact that we can learn to appreciate that differences do matter and that becoming aware of those differences will make interactions with others much easier.

Spend a morning living in a world that is designed for someone else. Here’s how: Hold a ping-pong ball or a similar object in your right hand (left if you are a lefty) and then slip a sock over it and tie or tape it in place. Keep your fingers folded around the ball inside the sock and try to go about your normal activities. The two main things you want to avoid are letting the ball get out of your closed hand and getting the sock wet.

Most of us are right-handed, and this should give you some sense of how much of our daily activities revolve around that fact. When you must use your left hand rather than your right, things seem to be a bit awkward, don’t they? If you want a real example, try to use a wall-mounted pencil sharpener, open a bottle of wine with a corkscrew, or turn the pages of a book. Are lefties at a disadvantage? Go price a set of left-handed golf clubs. Naturally, left-handed people have adapted to the right-handed world to the extent that most are ambidextrous.

Lefties, what did you get from this? Did your life become just a bit easier?

Your assignment is to write a brief two- to three-page essay paper, double-spaced, on the importance of understanding cultural, ethnic, and gender differences by managers and professionals in a business setting. Connect your observations and ideas to the materials and readings covered so far in the class. Don’t forget to include your experience with the ball and sock experiment in your paper, and be sure to relate the experiment to the importance of understanding diversity and applying this knowledge in the workplace. Please follow APA formatting requirements for this assignment, including a title page, and proofread to be sure that you have no spelling or grammatical errors.

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