Source: Detroit Medical Journal
Source type: journal
Document type: editorial
Document title: “Alien—An Explanation”
Date of publication: October 1901
Volume number: 1
Issue number: 7
|“Alien—An Explanation.” Detroit Medical Journal Oct. 1901 v1n7: p. 207.|
|Detroit Medical Journal; McKinley nurses.|
|Click here to see the September issue editorial referred to below.|
Some of our Canadian friends are inclined to take umbrage at the employment of the word alien as it appeared in the September issue of this journal, and in connection with the nurse in attendance upon the late President. They seem to forget there may be another definition of alien aside from “a foreigner” or “citizen of a foreign country.” It also signifies:
Pertaining to another: Not native: Estranged: Different in nature and tendency: Not a denizen or native.—Worcester[’]s Unabridged Dictionary.
Unsuitable: Strange: Hostile: Belonging to another person, place or thing.— Encyclopćdic Dictionary.
One not having the rights of citizenship in his or her place of residence.— Century Dictionary.
The latter was the sense in which the term was
used, the nurse being alien to Buffalo—as was necessarily the case when
she was imported from Washington, D. C.
Again, the criticism was not aimed at individuals, but at a principle, pernicious per se, that was apparently manifested and which, perhaps, is best expressed by the hackneyed vulgarism as “letting in one’s friends.” We feel assured if our readers had given the editorial in question more careful perusal—submitted to a second reading,—they would not have thus missed the real point and thereby fallen into an error. This much may be said, however: Had the editor of this Journal even the shadow of reason to suppose the nurse in question was of Canadian extraction, or even adoption, another adjective than alien would have been selected, knowing full well that to those Canadians resident near the border, this term (thanks to cheap politics and “yellow” journalism) serves a purpose like the “red rag” flaunted before the bull.
The coupling of the word alien with the word trained, as occured [sic] in a communication to an Eastern paper, if not a typographical error, was certainly gratuitous; the fact the former was italicised, and a hyphen lacking, evidenced the word “trained ” was governed by attendant.
Finally, the management of the Detroit Medical Journal is wholly free from any prejudice as regards the accident of birth, or foreign origin. Further, the editor, as one of Scottish blood, as a former resident of Ontario, and by reason of business affiliations and ties of consanguinity, marriage and friendship, within the Dominion, is manifestly one of the very last to indulge in invidious criticism or sneers regarding those who have ever owed loyalty to Great Britain.
“Alien,” under the circumstances, may not have been a happy selection, but it was nevertheless both correct and pertinent.