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  • Writer's pictureashnudua

Jill Biden- Doctor or not?

Updated: Jan 9, 2021

I read an article on ‘Wall Street Journal’ today about someone questioning Jill Biden's title as an academic ‘Doctor’.

I disagreed with this article for multiple reasons and thought that it was fitting to write about this and see what others think.

Mr Epstein, who wrote the article stated,

“Madame First Lady-Mrs Biden-Jill-Kiddo: a bit of advice on what may seem like a small but I think is not unimportant matter. Any chance you might drop the ‘Dr’ before your name? ‘Dr. Jill Biden’ sounds and feels fraudulent, not to say a touch comic. Your degree is, I believe, an Ed.D., a doctor of education, earned at the University of Delaware through a dissertation with the unpromising title ‘Student Retention at the Community College Level: Meeting Students’ Needs.’ A wise man said that no one should call themselves ‘Dr’ unless he has delivered a child. Think about it, Dr. Jill, and forthwith drop the doc.”

If you’ll notice, in the start of the article he refers to her as the First Lady, and then the names he refers to her decrease in respect. After ‘Madame First Lady’ he goes down to ‘Mrs Biden’, ignoring the way she goes by ‘Dr’, and then calls her by her first name, no honorifics attached. He then addresses her as ‘Kiddo’ as though she is an immature toddler who doesn’t know as much as him. For someone who contributed to Wall Street Journal, (and even if he had written this anywhere else), I feel like that was highly disrespectful. Mr Epstein is entitled to his opinion, but I believe that while expressing it, the least he could do is maintain the respect Dr Biden deserves.

Joseph Epstein then stated Dr Biden’s title in a scorning way and said that, ‘a wise once said no one should call themselves a doctor unless they have delivered a child’. By saying ‘wise’ man, he has successfully conveyed his agreement with the unnamed man who wrote that quote.

Firstly, not even all medical doctors have delivered a child, considered there are multiple other fields in the medical career. This however doesn’t mean that they aren’t referred to as ‘doctors’.

Secondly, the term ‘doctor’ has two meanings, one of which being ‘a person who holds the highest university degree.’ This meaning is accepted by the dictionary and is quite commonly used. It is an academic title and considering the term ‘doctor’ itself comes from the latin word for teacher, it is a title that is very valid.

I’m sure people are smart enough to know when someone refers to a medical doctor in context and that it will not get mixed up. The title of ‘doctor’ is given to people who have achieved the highest academic title. This is a great achievement and anyone who has earned should be proud. If you feel uncomfortable with the title, when you reach a point in your life when you can’t go any further academically in a particular subject, feel free not to use the title outside of places of education, however, please refrain from telling others what they can or cannot call themselves.

I was inspired to write this article by reading the work of Ms Hesse, who wrote an article about this .

Being a First Lady is amazing, but to be that, it does not mean that Dr Biden needs to give up her own identity and undermine the work she has done, and accomplishments she has gotten. It doesn’t need to be either/or, in this situation, because she can be both at the same time.

So, I have to say, "Mr Epstein, while I respect your right to a point of view, I do not agree with your perspective in the slightest."

And all the doctors out there, please feel free to call yourself whatever you wish to, regardless of what others think.


This is the link for the original article by Joseph Epstein on Wall Street Journal:

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