On Friday, the Wall Street Journal published an op-ed that mocked Dr. Jill Biden, our future First Lady, for the earned use of “Dr.” as her name prefix.
Oozing with condescension and misogyny, writer Joseph Epstein proclaimed that as a doctor of education, Biden did not have the right to call herself a doctor.
“Madame First Lady— Mrs. Biden— Jill— kiddo: a bit of advice on what may seem like a small but I think is a not unimportant matter. Any chance you might drop the ‘Dr.’ before your name,” Epstein wrote. “A wise man once said that no one should call himself ‘Dr.’ unless he has delivered a child. Think about it, Dr. Jill, and forthwith drop the doc.”
Since publication, Biden has received an outpouring of support. This morning, former First Lady Michelle Obama made a statement on Instagram, applauding Biden for what a great role model she will be for Americans come January.
“For eight years, I saw Dr. Jill Biden do what a lot of professional women do— successfully manage more than one responsibility at a time, from her teaching duties to her official obligations in the White House to her roles as a mother, wife and friend,” Obama wrote. “All too often, our accomplishments are met with skepticism, even derision. We’re doubted by those who choose the weakness of ridicule over the strength of respect.”
In addition to Obama, many took to social media to stand up for Biden. In particular, Bernice King, the daughter of Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., tweeted, “Dear Dr. Biden: My father was a non-medical doctor. And his work benefited humanity greatly. Yours does, too.”
Both non-medical doctors whose work benefits humanity does not = a comparison of experiences, contributions, leadership and influence.
Please don’t contrive reasons to be frustrated. There are enough legitimate reasons. https://t.co/DNQ5VR4lH5
— Be A King (@BerniceKing) December 13, 2020
— Univ. of Delaware (@UDelaware) December 14, 2020
I just caught up to this hot trash take on Dr Biden. A white guy with a BA bragging about his teaching career in academia as in part justification as to why Jill Biden shouldn’t be using her doctorate in education she earned is peak white male supremacy https://t.co/9S5h4Yi6qJ
— Atima Omara (@atima_omara) December 12, 2020
Epstein made sure to include in his piece that he taught at Northwestern University for 30 years. In response, the university made a statement noting he had not been a lecturer since 2003 and that it condemns his opinion. The school’s English department issued its own statement, aligning with the university that Epstein’s opinion piece is “unmerited.”
“While we firmly support academic freedom and freedom of expression, we do not agree with Mr. Epstein’s opinion and believe the designation of doctor is well deserved by anyone who has earned a Ph.D., an Ed.D. or an M.D.,” the university said.
Together, we will build a world where the accomplishments of our daughters will be celebrated, rather than diminished.
— Dr. Jill Biden (@DrBiden) December 14, 2020