Monday, February 06, 2006
"Banana" is defined in the dictionary as a noun (the actual fruit) and a verb (crazy). There is however; another meaning for the word "banana" and today class, that is what we are discussing. "Banana" within the Asian/Filipino community can also describe one whom is of Asian/Filipino descent but "acts" decidedly Caucasian. (Bananas are YELLOW on the outside, WHITE on the inside, eh ? eh? learn somethin' new everyday dontcha?). This is a term I'm quite familiar with as it was brought to my attention in 7th grade, that I was a "BANANA." I asked around as to what a "banana" was and my brother finally enlightened me to my new moniker. I didn't really know where to go with this. Should I be mad? Offended? Should I "reevaluate" my relationship with my culture and my people???
I probably should have reacted in SOME way.. but honestly, what could I do? I couldn't change the way I "acted," I couldn't get all new, %100 Filipino enriched friends overnight, so I resigned myself to being a banana. Plus, the fact that those who called me a "banana" (behind my back mind you.. PUSSIES!) were Filipino sure, but born in Downey or someplace in the U.S. Technically, there were the REAL bananas. I was born in the Philippines (I at least had THAT under my banana belt!) and had the fortunate blessing of having parents who believed in that saying, "When in Rome..." I came to America, read a few books, made a few friends (I didn't even pick Filipino friends exclusively! Can you believe that?? I mean Filipinos were few and far between in Kansas, but I should have tried harder, I know.) and got rid of the accent.. I thought that was what I was SUPPOSE to do? DAMN IT. Why didn't anyone tell me that this was the path to being a banana?!? I had been duped.
I have tried numerous times to try and pinpoint the exact moment I started to unknowingly walked the Banana Path and really, there are a lot of things that could have done it. First, my parents. They never informed me that I should only hang out with Filipinos or to make Filipino friends. All they told me was to be nice, be polite and make friends. Good lord! They practically threw a banana suit ON ME! Shows you how much those two know! Second, I could blame my best friend Judy, whom I met in 2nd grade and is still my bestest friend. She was Hispanic and unknowingly introduced me to another culture, other friends of different descent and so on. I could also blame the fact that I am probably the only math retarded Asian alive and therefore did not have many classes with fellow Asian peeps, as I was too busy counting my fingers and toes in consumer math. I could blame Superman (Christopher Reeve) for looking so damn sexy in his tights and standing there with all his Caucasian glory, influencing me at such a tender age. I could blame so many things but I soon realized that being described as a potassium rich fruit wasn't the worst thing to be.
So whatever, I'm a banana. I guess I "act" Caucasian to some people.. whatever the hell that means.... I'm proud to be Filipino but why do I have to "act" a certain way or be friends with only certain types of people to convey that? I don't think I could do that even if I TRIED. I'm just being me and unfortunately, its a little too "Go Whitey!" for some people. I do need to brush up on my Tagalog (although my "Tag-lish" is EXCELLENT) and I COULD learn how to cook Adobo at some point since Brad likes it so much, (first I just gotta learn how to COOK). Otherwise, being a banana isn't so bad. It filtered out a lot of idiots from even crossing my path and I have met and gotten to be great friends with many people of all different races, which also meant being exposed to different types of FOOD.. and really, that's THE main benefit of embracing differences isn't it??? OH and like a true banana, I HAVE A BIG GIANT CAUCASIAN HUSBAND WHO COVERS EVERYTHING IN GRAVY. God Bless America!
So everyone, bananas and purists alike, let's all hold hands and sing:
"This shiiit is bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S!"
See? Even Gwen Stefani wrote a song about me!