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I have an astronomy lab once a week. The girls at my table are mostly art majors. Luckily there is one girl who is into math and physics, (don't know her major), to help us out with the math parts because we always struggle a bit.

One girl was especially struggling and kind of joked about how this is why she's an art major and didn't take Algebra 2 (because she didn't have to), and another art major agreed and said she's more hand's-on and so it's hard to compute things like math.

Well, our teacher overheard and made some comments about how math is "just a foreign language" so if we're struggling with it, we're just lazy, (eh, maybe... lol). He heavily implied that everybody can be on the same level at math... that people aren't born with different talents, (kind of doubtful about that).

Then he smirked and said,"There's a reason why mathematicians get paid more than artists," and walked away, leaving most of us enraged.

I'm not even an art major but that comment upset me because it was basically saying that if you aren't working in math or science, you're just a lazy loser that deserves low pay. It's also implying that everything besides science and math is worthless.

I could write a whole essay about how that's so wrong, but what are your thoughts about it?

(Personally, it shocked me that someone with a PhD, who works in such a logical field, would even think something like that. Just another reality-check for me that even "smart" people aren't perfect I guess... I like that teacher so it was especially upsetting to me.)

My little sister, Fuzzie-Peach, is doing a contest for her Korean language camp.

Her photo is 3rd from the bottom on the right side. She has the dark blue snowflake blanket.
Click the circle next to it and submit if you want to help out and vote for her! ^.^


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DecoraAi Featured By Owner May 13, 2013
I'm not good at math myself ( I have a disability in Math) . I can't believe he said . :C
skyspirit Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2013
That would be really upsetting. It's not so much what he said as how he said it. Though what he said was also highly inappropriate. Unfortunately, some teachers can be real ass kings when it comes to off-the-cuff comments like that. Maybe he had just had a bad day and some art majors were pissing him off and belittling HIS line of work. It could also be that he was somewhat offended by your chatter and how you seemed to think that math was something of a waste of time. I do realize, though, that as a teacher, my opinions might be a bit biased.

Bottom line: it was a douche-like move on his part. I think that even though you're not mad/upset anymore you should talk to him about it. If you like the teacher and respect him, then he deserves to know that he actually did upset his students. Maybe getting his side will actually help clear up the whole thing. Or he might just have been an ass king that day. Either way, the talk will prove to be a bit enlightening. And if you don't feel comfortable bringing it up face to face, you might consider emailing him about it.

You have to remember, though, that teachers believe in everyone's capability to learn--some believe it a little more than others. It doesn't mean that he doesn't understand that different people have different talents. If he believes that people CAN be at the same level if they put in the effort, then that's not really a bad thing. It means he believes in their capacity to learn, and it probably means that he's willing to do what he can to help in that area. He probably didn't mean it as a bad thing, despite how it came across. But he must also realize that not everyone wants to put in the time and effort because they probably won't all use it every day anyway. *nods* Maybe he forgot that part.

Also, I'm not really sure what a mathematician makes in this day and age, or who still calls themselves that, but I have to assume that even if they do get paid more, it's probably because they are paid more on a regular basis. Artists tend to work for commission or just sell the work they do to the highest bidder. It's possible to make a huge sum of money from the sale of one piece alone and then not make anything more until the next piece sells. It really depends on the type of artist, and the type of mathematician if you're going to compare like that. The reason probably that mathematicians get paid more is because their skill is often more necessary than that of an artist's in every day life. Does that mean artists deserve low pay? I don't think so. And I don't really think that was what he was implying. And if he was, he's more of a douche than I thought.
JJoseph Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2013  Student Digital Artist
I think you're overreading into what he said. "There's a reason for X" and "X is deserved" are different statements. You're twisting what he said into the worst possible interpretation.

That said, the "foreign language" statement is questionable and the "everyone could be on the same level" statement is provably false. While it is true that more/less anyone can get better in any given field, and can probably reach a level of proficiency, the amount of effort necessary varies between people, and there is hot debate going as to when or how one's capacity is determined. There's currently no method to determine one's capacity, only one's current proficiency, and to claim that everyone has the same capacity is almost certainly false.
flynfreako Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2013
Oh I was aware it might look that way when I wrote this journal, but you'll just have to trust me that the whole conversation combined with his attitude is what made us upset.

I'm not twisting what he said. The bolded sentence is exactly what he said, and his expression was clearly a condescending one. His general attitude in class overall is snarky and sarcastic and he often likes to proclaim that he's "an asshole". So yes, I'm pretty certain that we were accurate in seeing his expression as a "smirk".

(That being said, I still like him as a teacher. He's not always a jerk and he's good at teaching. He also has a pretty good sense of nerdy humor when he's not being snarky. I'm not mad at him & am not upset anymore, but I think his comment was inappropriate for class and I was upset because I kind of looked up to him and it disappoints me that someone with an education like that would make such a bold fallacy.)

Though, while I didn't twist what he said, the rest of the journal is talking about how I, and the other artists present, took his comment and attitude. I talked with them afterwards, and they were more upset about it than I was, (but then, he was talking directly to them when he said it so it was probably more personal in their view).

Personally, I think he was just trying to make a well-intentioned point, but ended up speaking without thinking and then just wanted to forget about it instead of apologizing or retracting his statement. He was uncharacteristically... bouncy afterwards.

I just wrote this journal because I'm curious about other artists' thoughts about a statement like that from a college professor. I got some good comments so far, so it's serving it's purpose :D
SuJuice Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2013  Student Digital Artist
anyone that sells their soul to commercialism is bound to make more money than the one that does what they do because they enjoy it. Sure you're bound to make money down the road if you're really good and if your artwork/formulas make an impact somehow; but yeah

unfortunately though, if you're smart enough and are working on the world's issues with math; you're bound to get funded by the university and the sponsors that fund that sort of a thing

it all really mirrors how things were back in the day, and I'm pretty sure the mathematicians are going to end up like the artists are as far as how much we make and the usefulness of that skill set and people's opinions on the matter. The definition of what we may consider as a "genius" is changing day by day.

still I really wouldn't pay attention to that buttface of a teacher, you just know him and his colleagues will wake up one day and go "damn now we're the art majors" because they're making a base salary while another skill set of geniuses are making more money than them
Disaya Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I've never been good at math, and most of my art friends/peers aren't that great at math either. I guess we just use different sides of the brain more, left brain tend to be better at Language, Critical thinking, Numbers and things like that. While right brain is more creative, colors, emotions, expressive, music, etc. Well I'm sure if I took the time to practice math more I would understand it more, it has still always been hard for me to grasp and stick with, I've had some math teachers acknowledge this difference in learning with art students. Ok aside from that, I think it's really disappointing that someone with a PhD thinks this way. It's sad in general that people look down so much on art majors/minors, they don't seem to value it at all yet I sure that can't even imagine what it would be like to not have so form of art in their lives. Ok sorry for the long reply, but I would be pissed too if I heard that.
bulletproofturtleman Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2013
Essay? Allow me.

It's all really a society thing. In olden times, arts were considered to be very important and spoke greatly for the times and the culture of the people. Artists were revered as greats, but nowadays it's all about businessmen and politicians that deal with money. The values changed from spiritual to materialistic, and that is why math which is useful as the root in many modern trades such as business, engineering, and sciences that lead to the creation of cheaply manufactured things is considered more useful than creating unique, singular pieces of art. Sure, if we were still a more spiritualistic community, then art might be considered more valuable, but that is certainly not the case now.

Looking at it from a standpoint in terms of trade skill and work, artists spend decades to refine their skill and that is not something that can be so readily taught and memorized. Art skills have to be developed (granted, so does math, but a good amount is based on memorizing and understanding the way formulas and certain logic is used, so it's still all about knowing). Many programs are capable of performing math calculations based on algorithms, but how many can create art (without a human)? In fact, machines can do math flawlessly, but humans can make mistakes. Art to me is of more value and more respected, but I won't say math is not deserving of its own value due to its sheer difficulty and the level of dedication required to understand the many equations and theorems (you know this because you mentioned math being like a foreign language).

Speaking in terms of economics, the level of demand is what determines worth. As I've mentioned before, the values of our community have changed; art does not hold as much worth to some people, but it does not take away the skill level required to create it. If this was moreso in olden times, then it would be putting everyone on the same tier, such as master craftsmen in guilds, with higher level people of their crafts being compensated thusly. A master jeweler would trade finely crafted jewels for a fair piece of armor that a blacksmith would smith. Bartering is more or less seeing things on a 1-1 scale with skill and value, but you won't see that nowadays.

tldr; I think art and math require a fair amount of skill to perform, and both should be compensated fairly, but due to demands of modern society, a mathematician has more to offer for the advancement of civilization in terms of industrialization and the business of making money.
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Submitted on
March 4, 2013