[450 words] The Oxford University Press publishes a blog. OUP defines the blog as “Oxford University Press’s Academic Insights for the Thinking World“. But that is not how I would describe one post I read. Dated 5th April 2021, the post is titled “Anti Asian violence: the racist use of COVID 19“. The third paragraph opens with the words:
From the outset of the pandemic, President Donald Trump repeatedly referred to COVID-19 as the “China Flu” and “Kung Flu”—both terms that cemented the association of the virus with Asian bodies and thus racialized a pathogen that respects no national borders.
I invite you to reflect on that sentence dispassionately and rationally. After all, it is an example of OUP’s “academic insight for the thinking world“.
So, what strikes you about it ?
Allow me to share what I think.
Firstly, I should point out that I regard Donald Trump as a conceited individual and that I am relieved he is no longer President of the United States of America.
That said, Mr Trump won the Presidential election in November 2016 and he also obtained the votes of more than 74 million Americans in November 2020.
My view of Donald Trump must therefore be put into another perspective. It is my opinion. It is evidently not the opinion of the millions of Americans who voted for him.
With reference to the comments about Covid 19, the following goes unrecognized:
- Covid 19 originated in China in late 2019
- the World Health Organisation sent a team of investigators to China recently to investigate the nature and origins of the virus
- the WHO team went to the market in Wuhan, the location believed to be the source of the outbreak
- a year ago, the Chinese authorities themselves identified Wuhan as the location of Covid 19’s first appearance
- the WHO investigation has concluded that the most likely explanation for Covid 19’s origins was a transition from animals to humans
- health concerns have been raised in previous years about Chinese markets dealing in exotic animals for human consumption – however
- local cultural resistance to reform has prevented the suppression of this dubious practice
None of this accords with the thesis advanced by Daryl Joji Maeda, the author of the April 5th post at OUPblog. This suggests to me that the post reflects the worldview and predisposition of the author who fails to take account of the points raised above. To me, it fails as academic insight for the thinking world – indeed it constitutes a predisposed political viewpoint passed off as academic insight.
So, I find myself asking: Why does the publishing arm of the University of Oxford see fit to give a platform to such comment ?