The YPIE QuaranTimes
Volume 5: July 17, 2020
Artwork by Geneva Futrell, YPIE Scholar 2025
In this Issue
Reopening Schools: How do we do it?
Confirmed Case of Bubonic Plague in China’s Inner Mongolia Region
Getting Familiar With Political Jargon
The Door to 2021
Anti-Racism in the Entertainment Field
A Return to Normalcy
YPIE QuaranTimes Staff
Salamatu Lawal, Editor-in-Chief
Alyssa Lee, Prompt Editor
Catarina Mendes, Arts Editor
Julia Azulay, Feature Editor
Isabella Rendino, General Editor
Shemar Forbes, Layout Editor
Yismel Castro, Layout Editor
By Danielle Yeboah, YPIE Scholar 2027
Reopening Schools: How Do We Do It?
By Vanessa Gentile, YPIE Scholar 2027
On July 6th, Harvard announced on Twitter that 40% of its undergraduate students will be on campus during the fall 2020 semester. This will include first-year students and any student that needs to be on campus to learn (for example, international students). The rest of the students will continue taking online classes for the semester. The majority of replies seemed to be against that statement. One user says, “imagine paying $50,000 for online college” along with a laughing emoji. Another said “This decision will forever tarnish the luster of a Harvard education. You just kissed the historical significance of the Harvard experience goodbye.” However, some defend the idea of online classes. One of these users claims that “(The cost to learn online) wouldn’t be uncommon because taking class online is costly. At least they are keeping tuition the same as if you were in class.”
But with this announcement, the question arises: How do we reopen schools, Specifically, public schools?
There are two main ways schools can operate for the 2020-2021 school year. The first option is to continue online classes. It’s the safest approach since classes can be taught inside student’s houses, on their computers. Not only that, but classes have already been taught online the previous school year, so it should be easier for students to get a grasp on it. However, there is still the possibility of technical errors. Websites can be offline or inaccessible, and students may have to pay the price for it. Another problem that arises is that not every student has access to a computer or even wifi. Some students are used to doing online work in libraries or other public places that are still shut down.
The second option is to reopen schools with certain guidelines. Mayor Bill de Blasio proposed a plan where there would be a mix of online and school learning. According to the New York Times, schedules will be separated, where there will be only about three days of in-person learning. The other days will be online. Classes will only have about 12 students, and there will be social distancing guidelines, as well as rules for masks. This may solve many problems concerning the flawed online learning curriculum.
Of course, the reopening of schools heavily relies on COVID-19 cases. If cases continue to rise, the chances of reopening decrease--another reason why wearing a mask and practicing social distancing is so important.
Though the chances of completely going back to school are low, the opportunity is still there. Less online learning could mean more chances to learn which takes a load off of teachers who aren’t as tech-savvy as others. Of course, there is still quite some time left until the next school year begins. These plans are still being negotiated, but there is still a good chance that we will at least go to school for some days of the week.
Artwork by Geneva Frutrell, YPIE Scholar 2025
Confirmed Case of Bubonic Plague in China’s Inner Mongolia Region
By Catarina Mendes, YPIE Scholar 2025
When people think of the Bubonic Plague, for many, the devastating epidemic that ravaged Europe in the 1600s comes to mind. It is widely known that the Black Death was once a highly contagious, widely feared disease with a very high mortality rate. However, in recent times, most have not given a second thought to the disease outside of their school history lessons, as it has been basically eradicated due to the advance of hygiene practices among society as well as the development of modern medicine that allows medical professionals to successfully treat the disease. As a result, it no longer poses a serious threat to the global population.
This past Fourth of July weekend, a man in China’s Inner Mongolia region was confirmed to be infected with the disease, and is in stable condition at a hospital, according to a BBC News article on the subject. However, it is unknown how the herdsman man became infected with the disease. The World Health Organization(WHO) has also declared that this case is “not high risk”, and stated that it is being monitored closely.
In a region that is only recently emerging from a months-long battle with the coronavirus pandemic, the discovery of this case, along with two others in the neighboring country of Mongolia, has sparked new fear, and caused a level 3 alert in the region’s Bayannur District, says this Fox News Article. Residents are being warned by health officials to refrain from hunting rodents, such as marmots, which are known transmitters of the disease. This is being especially emphasized as the two cases discovered in Mongolia are suspected to have been caused by the men ingesting infected marmot meat.
Residents are also being told to watch for any possible symptoms that are associated with the disease, such as fever, chills, weakness, and headache. The disease can also develop into pneumonic plague, which can cause severe lung issues in a patient.
Even Russia has been anxious about the disease, urging hunters in its Altai region to reconsider hunting marmots.
While this recent development certainly has many in the area on edge, it is being dealt with, and the WHO has indicated that it should not be a cause for too much concern among residents. It is simply a matter of protecting oneself through listening to the guidance of health officials and practicing common sense. The Bubonic Plague is a very serious disease, but we have come a long way in fighting it since the devastating epidemic in the middle ages.
Getting Familiar with Political Jargon
By Shemar Forbes, YPIE Scholar 2025
With the 2020 U.S. elections approaching, you probably have heard a lot of political jargon these past few days. Moreover, many of these terms can be confusing. In this article, I will mitigate some of that confusion by delving into five dominant political ideologies found in the United States: conservatism, liberalism, progressivism, communitarianism, and libertarianism. “Wait, what is political ideology?” Simply put, a political ideology refers to views people have towards politics (e.g. the role the government plays in society). Now that we established what political ideology is, let us look at the different types.
Conservatism: People who are conservative favor long-established American values; tradition. To uphold the values, conservatives believe that the U.S. Government should enforce restrictions on matters such as contraception, same-sex marriage, abortion, etc. In addition, people who are conservative believe that the government should have little involvement in an area’s economy. Rather, issues should be handled by private sectors (i.e. parts of the economy that are neither controlled nor owned by the government).
Liberalism: On the other end of the spectrum are liberals. Contemporary liberals believe that the government should intervene in society's economic affairs as well as provide assistance and services to those in need. Liberals believe that this makes sure everyone is supported and equal. Unlike conservatives who are proponents of the government having a say on abortion or same-sex marriage, liberals oppose the government interfering with these sexual and social behaviors.
Progressivism: Progressives are similar to liberals; however, there is a subtle difference. While both liberals and progressives believe that disenfranchised groups should be assisted, progressives favor a more aggressive approach where the government is responsible for reforming systemic issues.
Communitarianism: People who are communitarian adopt a holistic viewpoint when it comes to politics. Communitarians support laws that address the needs of communities rather than the needs of individuals. Economically speaking, they tend to be liberal; however, they are conservative socially.
Libertarianism: Lastly, there are libertarians. People who are libertarians strive for prosperity, peace, and social harmony. Moreover, libertarians believe that the government should limit its presence pertaining to social, economic, and political issues, so these qualities can be achieved.
Political Ideologies and their Relation to the Political Spectrum
Left-wing. Right-wing. Centrist-wing. These terms are used to describe the different factions within politics. People who conform to ideas from the left-wing tend to be more liberal. People in this faction are generally advocates for the lower class, minorities, and social and economic equality. They want the government to assist in resolving these issues through means such as social security, welfare, etc. On the other hand, there is the right-wing. People whose political ideas align with the right-wing are more usually conservative. They support a free market system, lower taxes, and gun rights. Moreover, right-wings prefer the government to have minimal intervention in society’s affairs. Finally, there is the centrist-wing. Also known as moderates, people who fall into this category support some aspects of the left-wing and some aspects of the right-wing. Keep in mind that this is a spectrum, so there are varying degrees of being a left-wing, right-wing, or centrist-wing.
Below are where the political ideologies lie on this political spectrum.
As you can see, there are many aspects to the different political ideologies. We now know what they are, what their purpose is, and where they stand within the political arena. Here is some food for thought: Which ideology do you associate with?
The Door to 2021
By Jaylene Anderson, YPIE Scholar 2025
After studying comics exploring the themes of isolation, humor, and hope in the midst of the pandemic, students in YPIE’s Cartooning and Comic Creation major were challenged to reflect on their own experiences and feelings during quarantine and create their own comic. Check out Jaylene's comic, "The Door to 2021," below:
Artwork by Jaylene Anderson, YPIE Scholar 2025
Entertainment and Lifestyle
Anti-Racism in the Entertainment Field
By Julia Azulay, YPIE Scholar 2025
In this crucial period of educating oneself and insisting on change in a society dictated by systemic racism, an individual needs an outlet of information. Now that an influx of people are ultimately opening their eyes to the effects of systemic racism, there are dozens of outside sources awaiting their views, reads, and so on. Naturally, individuals refer to sources utilized in their everyday lives for their personal entertainment. For instance, social media platforms such as Instagram and Twitter have been notably helpful in spreading messages like wildfire. Moreover, one-sided media used for gaining knowledge through watching is also contributing to the anti-racism movement; Netflix is what comes to mind first.
Netflix, due to its abundant offering of shows, movies, and documentaries, is considered powerful in the subject of enlightenment about the past, present, or future. Upon discovering the horrific acts committed in spite of the black community, one might react by wanting a reference to background information (such as the history of racism). Thus, they turn to accounts of injustice conveyed by black historical figures or events in the entertainment field. Netflix resorted to dedicating an entire section of its platform to Black Lives Matter, which features movies/shows illustrating how several systems have mistreated black people in the past and continue to do so. A prime example of a movie featured in that section is The Help, a 1960’s-set drama featuring talents such as Viola Davis and Bryce Dallas Howard.
The Help was recently trending on the streaming platform and gained a lot of attention from its viewers. However, those willing to edify themselves have had mixed reactions about this film’s execution of black people, specifically black women, struggling with racism. Some have praised it for its bitter realness and the union between two forces that were accustomed to conflicting. On the other hand, The Help faced genuine backlash upon its release due to its portrayal of the maids who worked for a rich white family that typically persecuted them. There were countless complaints, including one from Viola Davis herself, about the lack of voice given to those enduring the friction. The backlash soon transformed into something far more serious; a lawsuit. Abilene Cooper, the woman who served as the real nanny to the Stockett family and inspired Davis’ character, filed a $75,000 lawsuit against the author of The Help for her “embarrassing” portrayal and her likeness being used without permission. Soon enough, the suit was dismissed by a Mississippi judge, rendering Cooper’s concerns futile in the end.
All that being said, readers may wonder what is truly off-putting about The Help. To state it briefly, although the individuals behind this readapted narration did not have ill intentions, the movie can be categorized as a “white savior” narrative. Why is this category not beneficial to refer back to? Well, it essentially results in two things: the silencing of black voices and the empowerment of those who are currently not in need of it. The Help is centralized around the white and rich who possessed enough “bravery” to assist their lower-class workers against oppression. Their bravery was heavily focused on instead of the perspectives of the ones struggling.
If you would like to do your part properly in supporting Black Lives Matter, you should ponder on this suggestion: amplify black voices. Of course, the film meant to shed light on vital issues, but many wouldn’t suggest it for educating yourself in a time like this. Rather, immerse yourself in pieces of work that represent black people as powerful enough to fight their fight. Viewing them as powerless will further worsen the condition they’re under. To conclude, I’d like to list a few films that stand as alternatives to The Help and serve as better sources of cultivation with a dash of entertainment.
The Hate U Give
Our Voices Heard
A Return to Normalcy
By Alyssa Lee, YPIE Scholar 2025
Although the media has decreased coverage of the protests, the protestors themselves have not wavered in their consistency. In many places, including Minnesota and New York, these acts of civil outcry have persisted for over a month, and seem to show no signs of stopping anytime soon. Protestors have achieved many major accomplishments during this time, such as: getting the Breonna Taylor case reopened, the disbandment of the Minneapolis police department and its replacement with community-oriented public safety infrastructure, suspension of the “no-knock” warrants in Louisville, Kentucky, the removal of numerous confederate statues, and countless other successes. This is a fight that will end when the people are given what they want and need, equity.
Malcolm X once said, “The white man will try to satisfy us with symbolic victories rather than economic equity and real justice.” We see this when they plan to paint a mural in remembrance of Breonna Taylor in Annapolis, yet have not arrested the officers who murdered her 118 days ago. When boulevards are renamed “Black Lives Matter”, yet around the corner dozens of black bodies are hung by trees and wave proudly like flags in the wind. These empty gestures mean nothing to the black community and only perpetuate performative activism. They invalidate the entire movement by making the objectives seem petty and trivial. The struggle for basic human rights does not magically end when “Black Lives Matter” is painted on a street. What significance do these actions hold if no change is brought? These symbolic gestures are almost always followed by another black death in the news, which only proves how meaningless they are. The only case in which these deeds would be welcomed with open arms is AFTER the black community is granted equal treatment in the world at large.
So as the return for normalcy is being advocated for by many, just remember what “normal” truly is. It’s watching black people being wronged by those who swore to protect them. “Normal” is watching black people being murdered in cold blood at the hands of those who hate them. “Normal” is turning a blind eye to the corruption that consumes this country day by day. Wanting normalcy is a massive part of the problem. Injustice is cruel and merciless. It should make you uncomfortable. It should force you to have those controversial conversations. It is from these experiences from which we learn and can ourselves help ignite massive systemic change.
Artwork by Geneva Frutrell, YPIE Scholar 2025
By Yismel Castro, YPIE Scholar 2025
History has an amazing way of exposing individuals to the truth that resides in the world. People can be exposed to past events that allow them to adopt a different perspective, however, it is safe to say that oftentimes history is dismissed as something that will forever remain in the past without chances of repetition. One piece of American history that will forever be categorized as horrid and caustic is the episodes of lynchings that have taken place- mainly motivated by racism. The word “Lynching” opens the door for vast opinions since it is quickly assumed that it mainly happened either during the virulent periods of slavery or segregation; however, racism still exists. There are extremists who wish to go through incommensurable lengths in order to manifest their hatred; lynchings are one of the many tactics employed. The real dilemma is the controversy that resides upon the statement: “lynchings have never stopped”.
Some individuals may argue that the lynchings that took place in most recent dates are disguised as suicides or other accidental tragedies. Since May 27, a woman, four men, and a teenage boy have been found dead from separate hangings in Portland, Southern California, Houston, and New York City. Tragically, the woman that was hanged was also pregnant and her baby never got to take its first breath of air. The teenage boy never got to be an adult and the other men never got to grow old. Individuals find it hard to believe that these deaths are not suicides, however, people must begin to pay attention to the facts and not deny its validity. These people were killed within days of each other, in public places, and displayed in trees. These are all facts that point to the same MO. Other individuals may highlight the fact that they were killed during a time in which black people were standing up against oppression and brutality, therefore, many argue that these deaths are emblematic of scare tactics in order to make the black community stand down. Lynchings have always been tactics employed to cause horror. Social media is being used in order to raise awareness so that a proper investigation can be conducted regarding these sudden suicides. Twitter has served as a prominent platform in which activists began a movement by saying things like, “With sound body and mind, I’m here to tell you right now, if my body is found hanging from a tree, I did NOT commit suicide, I was murdered.”
Lynchings are not a matter of ancient irrelevance. They’re still taking place even in today’s society. It is not a matter of interpretation it is a matter of research. These deaths are categorized as suicides, but you decide the way you want to see them. There are many more cases that resemble this collective tragedy, but everyone must remain educated so that they can choose their form of judgment instead of being fed every little detail that is displayed in the news.