In an acutely annoying piece for the Huffington Post this week, Oxford professor Emily Cousens lets us know that she hopes that her esteemed university is not the one that comes up with a vaccine for the coronavirus. While acknowledging that the world is in a heap of trouble thanks to the international pandemic, Cousens concludes that if the UK comes up with the ultimate cure, it will write an unfortunate “story” of what happened with COVID-19: White British men saved the world from a Chinese virus.
You will not be surprised to note her biography: “Dr Emily Cousens researches vulnerability and gender at Oxford Brookes university and teaches on the women’s studies masters course at University of Oxford.”
With people like Cousens representing the university in the media, Oxford may need to come up with a coronavirus vaccine just to preserve its reputation for academic excellence.
In any case, here is Cousens’ argument:
Let’s suppose that Oxford does develop the first vaccine. What happens next?
If there is enough vaccine to go round, the UK will be the world’s saviour. We’ll quickly forget the devastating delay of the UK government to take action, as Boris Johnson proudly safeguarded British institutions like individual liberty, and the pub, over lives.
We’ll forget the lessons that the pandemic has taught us so far: that the UK and the US are in fact not exceptions at the global stage. That we are not only vulnerable but can also afford to learn lessons from countries, regardless of whether we have a special relationship with them – such as South Korea. That being white, male and Oxford-educated may not be the only criteria for effective leadership (the countries whose responses have been most widely praised, Germany and New Zealand among others, are all led by women).
At the end of the day, Cousens is concerned that even though scientists at Oxford are “doing vital, life-saving work,” their victory in the race for a vaccine will only serve “as proof of British excellence.”
“The story will be clear,” she weeps. “China, once again, has unleashed a threat to civilisation. But the best brains of the UK have saved the world.”
Oh, we’re quite sure that today’s globalized liberal media will never let such a story stand. Cousens’ concerns, therefore, are not just idiotically misplaced but completely blind to the way the world works now. White men are simply not allowed to be the “heroes” anymore, so we’re certain that, no matter who actually develops the vaccine, the official history will reflect how people of color were the REAL heroes, no matter how limited (or counter-purposed) their role. Rest easy, Emily. We’ll be reading recipes for Chinese Bat Soup in Good Housekeeping before we throw a parade for WHITE MEN saving the world from a pandemic.