Category Archives: Around the Town

The Controversy of Banned Books

Staff Writer, Chris Bennett

For the past 25 years, the United States has exhibited an event known as Banned Book Week. Often held the last week of September, this event calls attention to the banning and challenging of books, books facing these circumstances, and helps raise awareness of the freedom to read. The event was started in 1982, following a spike in the challenging of various works of literature, and was founded in an attempt to stop the banning of books. So what does it mean to ban a book? And how is it different from challenging a book?

Banned books are novels which have been removed from a place for one or multiple reasons. The severity of a ban can range from the novel in question being banned from one school or library, to being banned completely in a state, or even nationwide. A challenged book is one that has not been banned, but has been labeled as offensive by a person or group and thus faces the threat of becoming banned. If a novel is or has been frequently challenged, or challenged in excess, the book may eventually be banned.

Why are certain books challenged and banned?

In many cases, banned and challenged books contain inappropriate content, discuss a controversial topic, or are highly offensive to a certain ethnicity, religion, or political group. In recent years, the most challenged books have been ones deemed “sexually explicit” or “racist”, books with excessive profanity, and books viewed as inappropriate for their target audience. For example, children’s books depicting homosexuality and/or transgenderism have recently come under fire, as it has been argued these issues are too advanced for the mind of a young child to grasp.

There are several opinions on the subject of banning controversial material, with different arguments for each. Several people interviewed, and presumably a majority of the population, argue against the censorship of books, claiming that censoring material of any kind is a violation of the First amendment right to free speech (especially for the author), and causes people to become ignorant of certain opinions and ideas. Presumably, others argue that schools, libraries, and governments should have the right to ban books, arguing that some material is just too extreme or inappropriate for the public to be exposed to, and can be harmful to society. A majority interviewed, and likely a high percentage of the general public, have an opinion somewhere in the middle, arguing that while most books shouldn’t be banned, there are several notable exceptions when it becomes necessary to censor material. An example of a middle opinion is that of sophomore Amani Abumais, who commented “I think banning books is wrong. The authors have the right of free expression. But if an author has bad intentions for a book, or is using it to promote hate towards a certain group, it should be banned.

What are the pros and cons of banning books?

While the censorship of specific literature has little benefit, there are a few prominent positives. The biggest positive of being able to ban questionable or offense books is that doing so can prevent children from discovering more adult issues before they are ready to handle and understand them. This pro-book banning argument was put into terms by freshman Liam Holder, who commented “Banning books shields kids from the the horror of reality.” Banning books that are racist or insulting can be a good thing too, as it can prevent the groups targeted from becoming offended, and helps keep community relations strong.

However, these few benefits are greatly outweighed by the many negative consequences this practice presents. The biggest con is that banning books, in many instances, is a direct violation of the First Amendment right to free speech and expression, and is the very definition of censorship. This especially impacts the authors of these books, as their stories and opinions can no longer be heard, and they can no longer profit from the particular book or books banned. Even worse, the author’s whole reputation, or even career, can be tarnished if one of their works is banned, as this causes people to view the author unfavorably. Also, the censoring of books also often means the loss of history and ideas. As Sophomore, Luke Thomasson, commented, “If people censor books, they risk forgetting history; or repeating it.” Many people also argue that if someone is offended by a book, they should just leave it on the shelf and not try to have it banned for everyone else. Teacher, Justin Ingram, summarized the argument stating, “Once you start to censor things, you have to draw the lines, which is confusing and difficult. If you’re offended by a book, just don’t read it.”

While the efforts of librarians, teachers, and students have prevented the banning of many books, hundreds of challenges are still issued every year by various groups against several novels, with 10% of all books challenged eventually becoming banned. Some books even face the possibility of becoming banned nearly every year, as they are challenged dozens, or even hundreds of times. Worst of all, it is no longer just controversial material being banned and challenged. Some of the greatest books and book series in literary history now face the threat of being banned, or experiencing a much greater ban. Books like Harry Potter, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and even the Holy Bible have come under fire in recent years. Even the series Captain Underpants has become targeted, being the most challenged book in both 2012 and 2013, and receiving even more challenges than books with profanity and sexual content like Fifty Shades of Grey.

What should be done about book banning and challenging?

Those interviewed suggested petitioning governments and other organizations to prevent the banning of books, or creating something that will cause people to reconsider their choice. The American Library Association (ALA) website also has a page where those wanting to “stand for the banned,” where people can submit videos of themselves talking about the issues of censorship, or arguing for the unbanning of specific books. If people want to stop book banning they have to take action. In order to prevent the silence of censorship, people will have to speak out.

Works Cited and Further Reading:

(1996). Banned Books. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks

Berry, S. (August 24, 2017) Parents Frightened: Kindergarteners ‘Crying, Shaking’ Over Transgender Book Teacher Read. Retrieved from http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/08/24/parents-frightened-kindergartners-crying-shaking-transgender-book-teacher-read/

Brady, A. (September 22, 2016) The History (and Present) of Banning Books in America. Retrieved from http://lithub.com/the-history-and-present-of-banning-books-in-america/

Banned Books That Shaped America. Retrieved from http://www.bannedbooksweek.org/censorship/bannedbooksthatshapedamerica

(2013) Bannings and Burnings in History. http://www.freedomtoread.ca/links-and-resources/bannings-and-burnings-in-history/#.WdA8oEuGPrf

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Tutti Frutti | Savory Frozen Yogurt

Staff Writer, Chris Bennett

Screen Shot 2017-09-28 at 7.58.44 AMAre you or your family looking for a new place to eat this evening? Do you enjoy variety, originality, or both? Is a welcoming, pleasant environment important to you when it comes to restaurants? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, visit Tutti Frutti.

Tutti Frutti is a self-serve, pay by weight frozen yogurt store, where customers create their own frozen delight. Clean and well maintained, the eatery offers a peaceful, casual dining experience. The inside is colorful and modern in appearance, and furnished with several tables and booths. For those who enjoy dining outside, there are benches lining the plaza and outdoor tables. Lastly, those who desire dinner before enjoying a savory frozen yogurt can do so, as there are several different restaurants beside Tutti Frutti, making dinner and dessert easy and convenient.

Tutti Frutti’s signature is their frozen yogurt, of which there are many flavors. Beyond classics like chocolate and vanilla, there are dozens of options to satisfy any type of customer. For those that desire something sugary, the chain offers a variety of flavors sweet flavors, including bubble gum, chocolate peanut butter cup, and cheesecake. For those that crave a healthy treat, the restaurant also hosts a wealth of fruit flavored creations. Some of these options include blueberry, strawberry, mango, and original tart, Tutti Frutti’s signature confection. For the adventurous eaters, there are several wild flavors offered, like pistachio, toasted marshmallow, and creamed corn, and the option to combine flavors through the swirl option, or just using multiple different flavors. For the consumer that wants something new, but doesn’t want to fill up a cup right away, sample cups are available upon request, ensuring customers find the right flavor every time. Best of all, flavors alternate daily, meaning there’s always new options at every visit.

The fun doesn’t end with the yogurt either. Tutti Frutti offers a wide variety of toppings to grace frozen treats as lightly or heavily as desired. And as with the yogurt, there’s a topping for everyone. Those who like a simple confection might enjoy whipped cream and hot fudge with a fruit like strawberries or blueberries, or a candy topping, like M&m’s, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, or York Peppermint Patties. Customers can even savor baked goods like brownie pieces, cookie dough bites, or pound cake. Those who like it extravagant can enjoy crazy toppings like gummy bears, marshmallows, kiwi slices, or even Captain Crunch cereal on their sweet treat. For those who don’t like solid toppings, there are also several syrup flavors to utilize, including a variety of chocolate syrups and caramel syrup.

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But what if a customer doesn’t want frozen yogurt? Tutti-Frutti offers as many options for frosty beverages as they do for yogurt. There is a bountiful selection of frappes, lattes, and fruit smoothies on the menu, as well as a multitude of bubble teas, the signature drink at the establishment. There’s even the option of iced coffee or a frozen hot chocolate.

For those that can’t eat frozen yogurt, desire a healthier choice, or just want something different in general, Tutti Frutti also offers a selection of fruit flavored sorbets. These sorbets are both dairy free and a healthier alternative to the yogurt, making them ideal for the health conscious or the lactose intolerant. For those aiming to avoid gluten, the restaurant even has a few options for soy yogurt.

Directions to Tutti Frutti from Voyager Academy: Retrieved from https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Voyager+Academy+High+School,+Ben+Franklin+Boulevard,+Durham,+NC/Tutti+Frutti+Frozen+Yogurt,+3710+Shannon+Rd,+Durham,+NC+27707/

Reviews: Tutti Frutti. Retrieved from https://www.yelp.com/biz/tutti-frutti-durham-3

Photos: Tutti Frutti Frozen Yogurt. Retrieved from www.tuttifruttify.com

Jessica, M.M. Retrieved from http://www.foodfindsasia.com/tutti-frutti-perfect-for-everybody/

Inside Look:

Tutti Frutti Frozen Yogurt of Durham NC. Retrieved from https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g49092-d4417562-Reviews-Tutti_Frutti_Frozen_Yogurt_of_NC-Durham_North_Carolina.html

Menu and Official Website of Tutti Frutti:

Frozen Yogurt Flavors. Retrieved from http://tfyogurt.com/mhome/flavors-creamy/

 

Centerfest: From the tent

Staff Writer, Sean Sullivan

Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 1.23.29 PMCenterfest is an event that takes place in downtown Durham. This year it was during the weekend of September 16th-17th. It is an art festival and is so big, that streets are closed in the city just to provide space for the event. Around 15,000 people walk through the streets of Centerfest each day, totalling up to about 30,000 people.

Over the past couple of years, History Teacher, Mr. Gatlin, the Civics and Economics teacher for the sophomores, got a tent there to spread awareness for Constitution day. The day that the Constitution was signed was September 17th, 1787. September 17th fell over the weekend of Centerfest so we partnered with the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution), to celebrate this day of historic significance. The Civics class even sent a group of kids to present their projects to a group of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

The Daughters of the American Revolution is an organization that recognizes and celebrates life how it was during the constitutional times. Every one of them is somehow related to someone part of the revolution. Whether they are related to a soldier that fought, or Ben Franklin or John Adams themselves, they can still be part of the organization. They came to Centerfest and worked out of our tent with us. We handed out over 1800 little american flags to people as they walked by, and gave the kids candy and USA stickers.

Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 1.23.42 PMThe civics class recently did a project to answer the driving question of, “what would the founding fathers want us to know about the framing of the constitution?” That question can be interpreted in many different ways and taken in many different directions. The students in the class showed how each of them pictured the question and created a visual representation to express their thoughts. Mr. Gatlin had many of the projects out on display for people walking through to see and learn from. This was appropriate due to the fact that it was constitution day.

Gatlin put out several projects that he thought were very well made and put together, the ones that had an excellent mindset put into it showed in their work. In total there was about ten to twelve projects out on display. Gatlin was asked what the main goal was for this event and what he wanted people to learn from it, he said “To recognize constitution day, since it fell during Centerfest we took an advantage of the opportunity to raise awareness for it.” Gatlin has done this event for around seven years, and the past two have fallen on the weekend of Centerfest so jumpin on that chance to set up shop there was a really smart move by him. The Viking Tide asked him which year so far has been his favorite, and he said “the past two have been great just because we’ve gotten to do it at Centerfest, but this year was even more special because we handed out over 1800 American flags, which broke our records from all the previous years.

Holden Buchanan, Sophomore, also worked in the tent on Sunday at 1:30-2:30. He described his experience as “It was a lot of fun, I got to meet a lot of new people and saw a lot of cool art.” Holden was one of the few kids that got to go present to the daughters, when he was asked what that was like he said, “It went really well, everyone seemed interested in what I was talking about which made it easier to present, instead of a bunch of students forced to listen to it.”

Ella Mrozkowski and Abdullah Abumuais are both seniors here at Voyager academy, and have worked with Gatlin for the past three years. Both of them shared their thought about this year versus previous years, and both had the same answer. “Last year was my favorite because we got to work with kids and got to make stuff for them and play with them.” Abdullah said. Ella also favored last year, “last year was fun because we had a lot more space, and we got to make hats for the kids and I was pretty good at making the hats.” They both said that they loved doing it all three years and it wasn’t a waste of volunteer hours.

My Point of View

I worked in the tent from 10:30 to 12:00 on Saturday and from what I saw there were a lot of people that enjoyed our projects and learning about the constitution. I noticed that there were a lot of people that weren’t even aware that it was constitution week, some people didn’t accept the flag which was kind of awkward but we just ignored them and kept greeting new people.

Be sure to sign up in the upcoming years to work with Mr. Gatlin and the Civics class to spread awareness for the constitution.