Liberal activists are demanding that a Texas mayor resign after receiving a gift of bananas that they call a white supremacist “global symbol” of the hatred of black people.
The gift of bananas and a toy monkey was given to Mayor Mike Snyder, the mayor of Hutto, a town of about 27,000 people in central Texas.
The gift was presented to the mayor during a city council meeting in August by Nicole Calderone, a resident who had run for public office previously. She said that it was a symbol of what she expected from local government.
“This is for you, Mayor. It’s a symbol, and I am one of the many monkeys who try to climb the ladder for bananas, regardless of how many times other monkeys try to pull me down and beat me up,” she said. “To me, the bananas represent what I expect and what I’m willing to fight for: low taxes, keeping a roof over our heads and food on the table, authentic community, council as a model of proper decorum, conservation and preservation of natural resources.”
Snyder accepted the present and kept the bananas and monkey on the dais for about two hours as the meeting continued.
The Austin American-Statesman reported that no one criticized Snyder at the time, but it became an issue at the next meeting of the city council when the bananas were denounced as a symbol of racism.
“From a historical standpoint, Black people have always been compared to monkeys and monkeys eat bananas,” said Nelson Linder, the president of the Austin chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. “The banana is a global symbol of white supremacy and hatred of Black people.”
Onnesha Williams, co-founder of Black Families of Hutto, called for the mayor to resign over the incident.
“It’s haunting. It’s taunting. It’s harassing. It’s the same as going to work and having a noose hanging at your desk,” she claimed.
City Councilmember Brian Thompson, who is black, called on the mayor to apologize and receive cultural sensitivity training.
“This act demonstrated prejudice and raised questions about the mayor’s commitment to foster an inclusive and equitable community,” said Thompson. “Accepting a gift of bananas, a historically racist symbol used to demean and dehumanize Black Americans, is not only disrespecting myself and Council Member (Dana) Wilcott but undermining the trust and inclusivity needed for effective government.”
Snyder did apologize at the Sept. 7 council meeting and offered a statement acknowledging the offensive nature of the gift.
“I can definitely see where it could be taken wrong and can see different people have come from different backgrounds,” he said at the time.
Calderone told KEYE-TV that she tried to write her comments in an inclusive manner.
“If that comment had been racially spurred, it probably wouldn’t have come out of my mouth, I would probably not have gone up there,” she said. “I think that knowing what I know now, there’s no pleasing everybody, that I’m going to say things that are going to make some people mad, and I’m also going to say things that some people are afraid to say.”
Snyder told KEYE that he would have taken the bananas and the monkey off the dais had he known at the time that it would have offended anyone.
Here’s a local news report about the incident:
Texas mayor under fire for not addressing racial trope in council meetingwww.youtube.com
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