What is or was the 'Banana boat'?
I can remember people talking about something called the 'banana boat' when I was a kid in the 1970's.
What is or was this? Was it something to do with racism?
- Anonymous1 decade agoFavorite Answer
'The banana boat' was a racist reference to the SS Empire Windrush which on June 22nd 1948 was the first ship to carry paying passengers from Kingston, Jamaica as part of what later became a sustained migration of people from one part of the British Empire to another. The ship, which was run by the Ministry of Transport having been seized from the Germans during the Second World War and re-named, was returning from Australia when it picked up passengers in Jamaica and offered them the opportunity of passage to England at a lower than typical price. 492 passengers took the opportunity of transport to Tilbury docks, London.
SS Empire Windrush was a cruise liner, which sank subsequently in 1954 and only on the one occasion stopped in Jamaica to bring passengers to the UK. However, it's arrival at Tilbury docks in 1948 is seen by many as the commencement of multi-cultural Britain. References to 'banana boats' are indeed rascist taunts, which many of the original passengers endured following their arrival.Source(s): http://www.icons.org.uk/theicons/collection/ss-win... http://www.bbc.co.uk/london/news/windrushpictures....
- 1 decade ago
im not sure but here in the philippines, there's a water sport we call the banana boat ride where you ride on a rubber boat shaped like a banana and it's dragged by a fast boat. the aim of the ride is to let all the passengers fall to the sea and so you all scramble back to the top of the banana to get a ride again. it's fun!
- 1 decade ago
When I was growing up in Scotland, people used to say "Do you think I came up the Clyde on a banana boat?", meaning "Do you think I'm daft? At the time, I was completely unaware of asny racist overtones to this, but I guess it must have been a reference to the immigrant workers who came in along with the cargo. I suppose less racist alternatives would be "Do you think i was born yesterday?" or "Do you think I came down in the last shower?
Many bananas were imported through the Clyde ports in years gone by, and there are still banana boat wrecks on the bottom. At least one was requisitioned to evacuate children during WWII.
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- 5 years ago
Ffyffe imported bananas to Glasgow and when they arrived, they were green - ripe fruit leaving the West Indies would have been rotten by the time it reached Scotland. The phrase is akin to 'do you think I am as green as I am cabbage looking?' Bugger all to do with racism.
- vercastLv 41 decade ago
My favorite ice cream kiosk in Manila serves a "banana boat" which is actually an austere version of the "banana split".
The Banana Boat Song is a traditional Jamaican Calypso folk song, whose best-known version was sung by Harry Belafonte and is the most well-known calypso. It is a song from the point of view of dock workers working the night shift loading bananas onto ships. Daylight has come, the shift is over and they want their work to be counted up so that they can go home (this is the meaning of the lyric "Come, Mr. Tally Man, tally me banana/ Daylight come and we wanna go home.")
The song was used in a famous dinner scene in Tim Burton's Beetlejuice.
The origins of the "Banana Boat Song" are often stated incorrectly. The song was originally a Jamaican folk song of unknown authorship; it was sung by Jamaican banana workers, with the familiar melody and the common refrain ("daylight come and we wanna go home"), but with many different sets of lyrics, some possibly improvised on the spot. The first recorded version was done by Trinidadian singer Edric Conner and his band "The Carribeans" in 1952, on the album Songs From Jamaica; the song was called "Day De Light".  It was also recorded by Louise Bennett in 1954. In 1956, singer/songwriters Irving Burgie and William Attaway wrote a version of the lyrics that was recorded that same year by Harry Belafonte; this is the version that is by far the best known to listeners today. Also in 1956, folk singer Bob Gibson, who had travelled to Jamaica and heard the song, taught his version of it to the folk band The Tarriers. They recorded a version of that song that mixed in the chorus of another Jamaican folk song, "Hill and Gully Rider", and released it, spawning what became their biggest hit. This version was re-recorded by Shirley Bassey in 1957, and became a hit in the United Kingdom. 
The Tarriers, or some subset of the three members of the group (Erik Darling, Bob Carey and Alan Arkin) are sometimes credited as the writers of the song, perhaps because their version of the song, which mixed in another song, was an original creation.
- nswblueLv 61 decade ago
The banana boat was the boat that the bananas came over the ocean in - mostly slaves/black worked these boats. Thank goodness the only Banana boat our children will know is the suntan lotion company kind!@
- SunnyDaysLv 51 decade ago
It was the Ffyes and Geest ships that used to bring over the bananas and the ship would also offer passage for anyone from the Carribean coming to the UK at a lower cost than normal passenger ships
- Anonymous1 decade ago
"Go back on the next banana boat" - an offensive (to blacks anyway) statement suggesting that a: they are primitive backward savages, and b: they go back home to the jungle on the most appropriate form of transport.
Naturally, it's not a PC comment today.