February 14, 2005

Eating bananas is racist? How stupid can you get?

I heard this story on Neal Boortz's show on the way in this morning, and couldn't believe it. Not only that, The Talkmaster said that you could take a look at the original story if you didn't believe him (and he wouldn't be surprised if you didn't).

Unfortunately, the newspaper in question, the Columbus (GA) Ledger-Enquirer, demands you pay a buck or three for stories more than a week old. But thanks to the wonders of modern technology (and Google's cache), we've got the entire original story from the Columbus paper, and lo and behold if'n it ain't completely true!

On January 15, there was a Civil Rights march in commemoration of Martin Luther King's birthday. As you would expect, there were members of the local constabulary present to maintain the decorum of the crowds -- not unlike any other march or parade.

Enter one unidentified black woman who came to town for the march. She was shocked and appalled at what she found, and wrote a scathing letter to the mayor about the conduct of one particular police officer.

Did the officer say anything untoward? Nope. Didn't utter a word.

Did he brutalize anyone? Nope. Didn't touch a soul.

Not only that, Columbus Mayor Bob Poydasheff received glowing remarks about the helpfulness of the local constabulary during the march.

So what, pray tell, did this member of Columbus' Finest do to tick off the letter-writer?

He ate a banana.

And no, before you go there, he wasn't doing an imitation of the Spice Channel or the Playboy Channel, he was eating the banana the way anyone would: Peel it, take a bite, chew, swallow. Lather, rinse and repeat.

So what ticked her off about a banana-eating cop?

Well, it seems that in the context of the march, she took the officer's banana eating to imply an analogous racial slur relating black people to apes.

Such a comparison would not be uncommon in the parlance of racist propaganda, particularly in the old days. But these days that kind of talk is pretty rare -- and pretty obvious, too, when someone really means it.

So as racial slurs go, simply eating a banana now has to be considered rather subtle, for this particular area.

The mayor looked into it, and sure enough found that the police officers had been given snacks from a snack van sent around by the department as refreshment for the officers. Sounds reasonable enough -- a banana would be a good choice; after all, bananas are an excellent source of postassium and quick energy. That's one reason that you will see bananas being handed out to distance runners and riders to eat during races.

So the mayor reported back to the letter-writer that simple fact. And then he did something that I wouldn't have done to someone as idiotic as that.

He apologized.

The screeching lunatic demanded the apology in writing. So the mayor did.

Dated Jan. 22, it says: "As I said in our telephone conversation, I am sorry you found Columbus police officers eating bananas on the street when you arrived in Columbus for the protest. Let me assure you there was no intent to offend. The officers needed some nutrition after standing long hours on the street and they particularly needed the potassium available in bananas and some other fruits."

Later the mayor writes: "There was no thought of insulting or offending anyone and perhaps this was thoughtless on our part. In any case, let me offer my sincere apology for anything our officers may have done that gave offense to you or anyone else."

Did that placate the screeching idiot?

No one knows. She hasn't seen fit to contact anyone back who has inquired.

But between you, me and the gatepost? Go ahead. Enjoy your banana. And if you catch me at home on the right day, I might even treat you to some bananas from our fruit basket. Or maybe even, at the risk of earning her ire, eat one myself.

Posted by mhking at February 14, 2005 01:17 PM

If this is all that she can find, I guess that the Civil Rights Movement is over, right?

Posted by: Steven J. Kelso Sr. at February 14, 2005 04:38 PM


I'm highly offended....To think that I used to enjoy eating bananas....


Posted by: CrzyDJM at February 14, 2005 04:56 PM

The mental gymnastics one has to perform to arrive at racism in this context is ridiculous. However, I am equally appalled by the apology which only encourages this kind of lunacy.
It would never have occurred to me not to have a banana in front of a black person because they might be offended.
I have to believe if bananas were offered that day, there were both blck and white officers eating them. What would the implications of that be?

Posted by: BobG at February 14, 2005 05:43 PM

Even Jesse Jackson would have a hard time with this nonsense.

Posted by: Retread at February 14, 2005 11:26 PM

Seems to prove the point that stupid is that stupid does. Bet the complainer has ate a banana or two in her life, if she has a life...

Posted by: Medic at February 14, 2005 11:47 PM

Interesting to note that a contestant on Americas Top Model opined distress at having a "monkee mouth"

Posted by: A Diablo at February 15, 2005 01:02 AM

The only solution is to ban bananas. It may also offend feminists in that it looks like a phallus.

Posted by: Hank at February 15, 2005 01:38 AM

I cant believe the mayor actually apoligized to this troublemaker.She's bananas,absolutely fruity,
plum out of her mind,a couple apples short of a bushel,oops I hope I didnt offend any Psychologically challenged individuals

Posted by: phillip gagnon at February 15, 2005 07:49 AM

Some people will go to any lengths to keep racism alive. Without it they have no purpose in life. Pretty sad.

Posted by: Bruce McDonald at February 15, 2005 08:32 AM

I guess butter is next. (Picture a tiger running in a circle)

Posted by: Neil Smith at February 15, 2005 09:12 AM

Ban bananas in all US states, it is racist food!
The Mayor of Columbus should publicaly agologize for causing the ban.
Fine (or incarcerate) all who would try to sneak bananas in!
We want to hear Kennedy, Kerry, Hillary, Dean at al their opinion on bananas as a symbol of racism.

Posted by: Joe Larson at February 15, 2005 09:47 AM

Now I am certain I have heard every low down stupid excuse for a winge in the cosmos.

Posted by: Patrick at February 15, 2005 10:05 AM

Patrick, I wouldn't have said that if I were you...The cosmos is a big place, and the bar is being set at new heights (and lows) every day.

Posted by: 52Ranger at February 15, 2005 10:41 AM

Oh man it dont get no better than this, where is Jesse Jackson when you really need him? The only wat to truly appease these folks is to put all the gangstas on the welfare rolls down there along the route as Security give em $20 an hour and let em sell crack, Hos and Lotto tickets to the crowd! I have a Dream!

Posted by: Don at February 15, 2005 12:57 PM

Obviously she wasn't a Monty Python fan, or she would have remembered the self-defense skit, where Eric Idle says, "First, you grab the banana, thus disarming him . . . "

Posted by: Fausta at February 15, 2005 01:58 PM

I have never been to the City of Columbus but I would like to explain this apology, you see, it seems that politicians need to feel needed in addition to needing to be elected. This apology serves both masters, so don't blame this poor idiot of a mayor, he's only a sniveling little weasel who bends over at the least provocation and takes "it" in his rectocranial receptacle.

Posted by: Doc at February 15, 2005 03:32 PM

Race Pimping how original. Being offended because someone at "Racially Incorrect Food". So will there now be a list of Racially Politically Correct Food?
Is Fried Chicken out, Cajun Food, Hot Wings, McDonald's or Fast Food? Will obese people be offended if the Officer were eating a Subway Sandwhich? How far does this lunacy extend. With all due apologies you may can kiss my white ass.

Oh I have a Hispanic Daughter in Law, African American Son in Law, 3 mixed race Grandsons, and I am Buddhist.

Posted by: Khankrum at February 15, 2005 04:52 PM

I can top this. Apparently a black woman and high-level Democratic party dignitary in California, after the 2003 gubernatorial recall election, indicated that she was offended by the last two syllables of the state's new governor's last name!

Posted by: Better Yet at February 15, 2005 05:24 PM

Instead of eating the banana, the officer should have been arresting long-hairded white women who were flinging their locks in the faces of black woment, thereby subjugating the black women. "You may have extensions, but I have the real thing!" Racist!!


Thanks for that Mike.

Posted by: Curtis at February 15, 2005 05:36 PM

Personally,I'm getting angry about all the catering to a few malcontents in this world. There will always be complainers, can't we just move along without them and ignore their idiotic outrage. Now with the bananna's, it's unbelievable! I'm not just refering to the "cry racism issue", but all the other far left nonsense as well, which reminds me of our "wanna be politicians" in the acting business. They, and the malcontents should all slip on bananna peels.

Posted by: Sylvia Gagnon at February 15, 2005 06:09 PM

Recall the event on an airliner being boarded. One stewardess, in an effort to speed up seating, chimned: "eenie, meenie, miney, moe; grag a seat, we gotta go?"?

Posted by: doctari at February 15, 2005 09:00 PM

That's like a white southerner being offended when a waitress asks, "Would you like crackers with your soup?"

Posted by: Trooper John Smith at February 15, 2005 09:56 PM

We have had a black female complain, she was racial profiled, because a patrol car drove by her as she stood on the street.
The officer didn't contact her, didn't glare, didn't do anything but look her way as he drove by.
Some people need to get a life.

Posted by: Bert Hayes at February 15, 2005 10:55 PM

What would she have done if the officer had been eating fried chicken or watermelon? That might have given her a coronary.

Posted by: 2klb_gorilla at February 15, 2005 11:09 PM

Why do we continue to pay attention to the morons in this world of ours. It only encourages more of the same.

Posted by: j Mika at February 16, 2005 03:47 AM

The silly liberal media we have now loves this type of crap and had I been the cop that day and some momma was checking me out eating a bananna I would have checked my package! Maybe she needed a booty call! They need to start teaching them cops ebonics!

Posted by: Don at February 16, 2005 04:20 PM

I would have sent her a fruit basket of only Bananas and no apology.

Posted by: Ja Moke at February 16, 2005 05:04 PM

She must have been having crack withdrawals, as we know that all negros smoke crack. So its not their fault, we cant blame them, its societies fault.
Also coconuts always remind me of negros for some reason, not just banannas. Do monkeys eat coconuts as well?

Posted by: ray at February 16, 2005 07:23 PM

To twist Freud a bit, sometimes a banana is just a banana.
I am reminded of something that happened to me a long time ago (1964) during sit-in days. I was one of a group of two whites and two blacks who surprised a late-night coffee shop in Tallahassee. The scene was tense, of course, but there was nothing remarkable to report. We were served and left without incident, but the tension was so thick you could cut it with a knife. Afterward, I said to one of our black friends, "Did you see how that waitress didn't put any silverware for us to use? We had to ask for a spoon for the coffee?"
His reply was simply "She was just nervous. I don't think she meant anything by it..."
It taught me a lesson in charity that has lasted me all my life. As a nineteen year old kid, I needed that adult role model to show me how to be gracious, not to read too much into a simple situation.

Posted by: John Ballard at February 20, 2005 05:59 AM

Well I don't know if anyone has seen the new commercials by Red Stripe Beer? Well they are discriminating against white people when they says their beer has been helping white people dance for so many years, and the one about the white guy being ugly until he has their beer. Well where's the NAACP or the censors when you need it?

Posted by: Tam at June 10, 2005 06:51 PM

This is so ridiculous that all I can do is laugh.

Posted by: Cedric at September 19, 2005 04:09 PM
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