Downing College publishes ‘xenophobic’ Instagram post joking about coronavirus

The post makes fun of racial stereotypes


On Sunday, Downing College published a post joking about the coronavirus outbreak on their public Instagram account. The post satirises the responses of different nationalities to the virus, using cultural stereotypes to generate humour.

The post makes references to the Blitz, the Spanish Armada and France’s WWII surrender in an attempt to make light of the coronavirus pandemic.

One Downing student told the Cambridge Tab: “It’s a highly problematic post and in light of the recent xenophobic and racist incidents relating to coronavirus at Downing and experienced by Downing students it seems to make light of a situation that simply isn’t funny. This post definitely send the wrong message as humour isn’t going to get us through a pandemic”.

In January, at the start of the outbreak, there was incident where a group of Chinese students were subject to racial discrimination at Downing. Three weeks ago, two more incidents were reported.

A student at Emmanuel College said: “An official college making light of coronavirus is problematic enough without being rampantly xenophobic as well.”

The latest figures from Public Health England state that 1,140 cases have been confirmed in the U.K with 21 deaths. Four of these cases have been reported in Cambridgeshire.

Downing College and Downing JCR president have been contacted for comment.

Cover photo credit: Kohlrabi Pickle