That’s Bananas!

A little amusing note pointed out by a teacher in my English class:

This is a picture of bananas, no?

Of course it is. We are very familiar with the appearance of this tropical fruit. So familiar, in fact, that it is common to see this type of picture near the beginning of our educational children’s books:

B is for Bananas, much the same as A is for apples, or C is for Cat. Fun facts, and we all associate it with the picture of a banana… stem up, nice and crescentish, although you’ll have to forgive the nonexistent vocabulary.

Naturally, since we are so knowledgeable about bananas, this would appear absolutely wrong were we to put it in children’s books:

Now why would you put an upside-down banana in a book teaching kids about the facts of life? Everyone knows that bananas are always with the stems up. Oh wait… except when they are in their natural position of growth:

That’s right… it’s almost missable at first, but upon review, those fruits are undeniably upside down! Or rather, our knowledge of bananas, it would seem, is not so complete. In fact, our thought on how bananas must grow is far closer to what we know of apples, instead of bananas.

While it seems trivial, just take note that if we know so little about bananas, how little do we know about the cultures that grow them? Our teacher’s final note for the evening was that we still have a very mainstream view of what it represents to live in Africa. We take for granted that which our teachers instill in us when we are young. Maybe we should begin to think of B is for Banana as a lesson for how we should study a whole continent’s load of people?


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. blackberry guy
    Mar 04, 2007 @ 18:41:00

    Commenting on my blackberry as I eat lunch.

    No problem with the moral of the story. But if you take a banana and sit it on a table … it never comes to rest with the stem down and the fruit up. In other words, we draw them orientated the way they’re familiar to us.

    It’s certainly true that we remain, at best, Eurocentric. I know little about Africa and little about Asia, even though I have an inquiring mind.

    And even with respect to Europe, how much do most of us know of history further back than WWI?


  2. Knotwurth Mentioning
    Mar 04, 2007 @ 22:19:00

    You can get a banana to sit on a table? I can only get mine to rest on its side… it’s normally curved enough that it just topples over!

    Gotta show me that one sometime, blackberry! 😉


  3. blackberry guy
    Mar 09, 2007 @ 17:57:00

    For your viewing pleasure.


  4. Knotwurth Mentioning
    Mar 09, 2007 @ 18:10:00

    That’s a group of bananas! I never said you couldn’t do it with a bunch!

    blackberry guy said:
    But if you take a banana and sit it on a table … it never comes to rest with the stem down and the fruit up.

    That would suggest singular! Show me a picture of one singular banana sitting the way that bunch is, not on its side, and I will be impreesed!

    I was just poking fun, not trying to discredit your point. More importantly, I think the fact that we think of them as growing with the stem up (or at least I always did!) demonstrates our lack of knowledge.


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