Obama Apologizes For Downing Art History Majors
Matt | On 18, Feb 2014
President Obama has been trying to smooth over an impromptu comment he made at a January appearance shortly after the State of the Union speech.
While in Wisconsin on January 30, President Obama touted the benefits of manufacturing. He aimed to make a point that in this economy, people can sometimes make money faster by training in specific manufacturing trades that have real world needs.
He said, “folks can make a lot more potentially with skilled manufacturing or the trades than they might with an art history degree.” Though he quickly corrected himself, the president was bound to feel the heat from the art history community.
Professor Ann Collins Johns of the University of Texas wrote to Obama via the White House website just after his speech to defend the honor of those in the practice of art history.
Johns, an Obama supporter, was lucky enough to receive a handwritten personal response from President Obama on February 12. He had the following to say:
Let me apologize for my off-the-cuff remarks. I was making a point about the jobs market, not the value of art history. As it so happens, art history was one of my favorite subjects in high school, and it has helped me take in a great deal of joy in my life that I might otherwise have missed.
So please pass on my apology for the glib remark to the entire department, and understand that I was trying to encourage young people who may not be predisposed to a four year college experience to be open to technical training that can lead them to an honorable career.
Kudos to Obama for apologizing! I don’t think he meant harm in his original statement. The truth is that there are several fields of study where people earn four-year degrees and cannot find gainful employment. If anything, his slight dig may have had more truth than Professor Johns is willing to admit. I know plenty of college students that damn-near doodle on their degrees because they can’t find work that will pay them enough in their field to live. It’s a sad, but clear, reality.