'A gifted young person who chooses to become a mechanic rather than to accumulate academic credentials is viewed as eccentric, if not self-destructive. There is a pervasive anxiety among parents that there is only one track to success for their children. It runs through a series of gates controlled by prestigious institutions. Further, there is wide use of drugs to medicate boys, especially, against their natural tendency toward action, the better to “keep things on track.”'
Use to be that kids of color were guided by school counselors to do manual work. This was because of the assumption that only the "smart ones" should go to college and Mexican or Black kids weren't smart. Now the NYT is thinking about all those Hedge Fund Managers that want to become mechanics. It's trying to make them feel better.
The truth is that people who do things with their hands (of course their brains help) are just as gifted and can usually be considered "artists" - like the person who tiles your bathroom, puts up your siding, straightens your car out after an accident.
But there is that old class issue, that goes back a milenium. The rich and noble didn't (and don't) have to do anything but use their brains. Can you change the oil in your car?
"A Case for Working with Your Hands," New York Times Magazine, May 24, 2009