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!


Shannon Bieger said...

If it's any consolation, bananas happen to be McKenna's favorite fruit.

Psh, please - not a one of us wants to act like our racial stereotypes. A stereotype is always the idiot version of our race. If someone got on my case and said "Damn, why can't you be a more typical honkey?" I would say "Because pointy hoods make my hair look flat and I don't have any kindling to light my cross on fire."

So see? Better to just be you at whatever degree of Filipino you want to be. Now I'm all for this learning to cook business but if you buy me some kind of Hello Kitty pencil case for my birthday then our friendship is over = P

Lightning Bug's Butt said...

Bananas and Oreos. They DON'T go good together.

Kim said...

Shoooot... you're the coolest BANANA I know!

Ha! Hello Kitty pencil cases!!! Sanrio Surprises in the Puente Hills Mall. Hell yeah!

Elaine said...

Shannon: okay, I am the opposite, if you GET me a Hello Kitty pencil case, complete with those buttons that pop out the secret eraser compartments, I'll be your best friend for life! LOL!

LBB: who SAYS oreos and bananas don't go together? you mush those babies up in some vanilla ice cream and you got yourself a dessert orgasm! :D

Kim: OLd SKOOOOL (Sanrio Surprises.. tee hee) I remember that place just smelling of plasticky goodness!

Debi said...

Not to get all serious on such a blog, but believe it or not I grew up completely unaware that racism still existed. Seriously! I lived in a diverse neighborhood, and everyone got along and never made comment. UNTIL I got to high school. One of the first friends I made was a Flip. When her friends started calling her a Twinkie (same thing as a banana), I had no clue what they were talking about. They were always nice to me, and never treated me differently, but somehow they thought it, not only proper, but their obligation to degrade "their own" because she was "white-wash." She too was born in the patties, so who the hell are they????!!! At least she was trying (Elaine). SHE had a lowered Civic and loved Keropi (fyi: hello kitty is for white girls, the frog is for the flips, and the black kitty is for goths - haha, but kinda true). Her only crime was a white best friend and eyes for a hot-ass honkey next door. LET IT GO PEOPLE!!! Of course now having been to MO, I know what REAL racism is like, and suddenly "Twinkie" doesn't seem like such a burden. Hey Elain, "HOW... MANY... BAGS... OF... ICE... DO... YOU... NEEEEEED?!"

Elaine said...

Debi: I was the SAME WAY. I had no idea what racism really was up until I got into middle school. So I really was oblivious to the fact that I shoulda been stinkin' to my own kind! (thank god).

"HOW... MANY... BAGS... OF... ICE... DO... YOU... NEEEEEED?!"

LOL! hahahahahaha! I'm Filipino NOT DEAF!!!

Alyson said...

I had never heard of banana before in my life. Thanks for enlightening me! :) haha

And you're a damn adorable and funny banana, if it matters...? :)

And I remember the old school RAINBOW GATE at the Puente Hills Mall. Sucka!

Judy E said...

In defense to your "banananess", when you started Blandford back in '84 (go Bears!) There were a total of 4 Filipinos: you, your two brothers (Edwin and Edgar), and Beverly Castro. So you grew up with a mix of people. I would say you're more a BANANA SPLIT. A combination of banana, chocolate, strawberry and vanilla ice cream, fudge, caramel, whip cream, and of course, the NUTS! with a cherry on top : )

Julie Jewels said...

I happen to think bananas are one of the best fruits out there!
So there!

Wonder what fruit or vegetable a mexican would be? My hubby gets sh.i.t from his family all the time for being too white! Whateva!! Just because he's not sporting Raiders tattoos all over his body, being a gang banger and doing 20 years for robbing a liquor store...

Elaine said...

Julie, I believe the equivalent of a "banana" to Mexicans is a "coconut"..(brown outside, white inside) .. I know. I'm ashamed I know all this. I mean, why drag perfectly good food into it??

Riss said...

What you can't do math??? You ARE a banana!!! :P

Technically, as a Filipino myself I can honestly say that a person is automatically a banana if they speak English without an accent. I'm like "DUDE, I was fricken BORN HERE. Of course I don't have an accent." But it doesn't matter to them. Whoooo cares.

Leilouta said...

Bananas used to be exotic in Tunisia:)