In article <email@example.com>, junoexpress <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> At social gatherings when people ask what you do, if you say > mathematics, they'll often respond that they hate math or were > terrible at in school, etc. Kind of a rude response I think, as I > wouldn't come out and so openly diss someone's profession like that. > And somewhat of a humorous response, since few people would think to > confess that they were bad at English or could barely read or put > together a coherent sentence, and yet they so gleefully volunteer that > they are bad at math. I'm curious how people who do math respond to > those types of comments....
The popular attitude is perfectly understandable. So many people were forced into badly run school mathematics classes when they were young, that anything other than widespread hatred of the subject would be a miracle. The solution is blindingly simple, but I know it will horrify many people in this news group: stop making mathematics compulsory in high schools.
As for the social situations, I doubt if it's possible to give a serious answer in a short time. My standard ploy is to grin and say, "Well, if everyone was good at it then I'd be out of a job." That's not true, of course, but it rescues people from feeling threatened (or disliking me).