Fist Bump of Legend

Die, fist bump, die!

I swear. You do a little gesture to celebrate the fact that you’re now officially “the Man” of the Democratic Party and it becomes the most talked about piece of nothing in the history of pieces of nothing.

I have no problem with the “fist bump” aka dap, showcased as the Obamas celebrated their ascension to the top of the heap Tuesday night. It’s existed since forever in the black community. Or at least since the 1970s. It’s so ingrained that it isn’t even about coolness anymore. My father gives dap and he hasn’t been cool since 1972. Along with church, dancing and Juneteenth picnics, dap is just on that long list of “ordinary shit black people do.” It doesn’t have anything to do with anything. It’s not that deep or complicated. Most black people like Al Green and turnip greens. It’s not rocket science.

Of course, that doesn’t stop people who are completely removed from black culture to discover it via Michelle and Barack Obama and go on and on about it like this is the late 90s and they’re screaming “Waaaaazzzzup!” at people because they saw it in a Budweiser commercial. It’s like when my editors discovered what “bling” meant and started putting it in headlines. White folks get that look on their face like they learned a “secret” about black people. Like how some of my white friends saw the Chappelle Show as an anthropological study on what black really think.

Um … no.

Sayeth the folks at What About Our Daughters:

It’s our job to analyze these things so I am not a killjoy, I thought it was cute and a sign that they are friends not just husband and wife, so that’s nice, but the media’s obsession with that small gesture plays into the fact (IMHO) that the most ordinary of things to Black folks even after being in this country since before its founding, is somehow EXOTIC.

Right now I am rocking braids. While it no longer annoys me, you would be surprised how many non-black folks are entranced by my hair and feel the need to comment on it. As if hair braiding is witchcraft or voodoo.

Be careful about basking in the first pound because if this much attention got paid to the first pound, just wait until the weeMichelles decide they want to take swimming lessons or something and they start rocking cornrows. Just wait until everything that they do that may somehow be “ethnic” gets cooed over and psychoanalyzed. The “First Pound” is cute and all right now, but is every single thing that the Obamas do that is “different” get dissected , it is going to get really old really fast.

What About Our Daughters goes into a much more extensive round-up of fist bump coverage, which is bordering on obsession in this “black people are different” reportage. I’m just going to lay low until then next, “Oh my God! Barack just said ‘holler at ya boy!’ What does that mean!?!?!

10 thoughts on “Fist Bump of Legend

  1. I was delighted when I heard about the fist bump because it is something my husband and I do, it is informal, spontaneous and gives a sense of a real relationship between these two people I admire. I didn’t even know it was “a black thing.” I see it more as a younger-generation thing. For me, it reinforced my sense that Obama is more authentic than most politicians, and confident to be himself and not just a crafted image. That said, I agree that it’s not something that needs to be obsessed over. Watch the clip, smile, move on.–CK, Oakland

  2. CK: There are some generational issues at play here that’s for sure. Some parts of black culture are just wider American youth culture, but for those who grew up in more isolated enclaves anything with urban or black roots comes off as “exotic” and “foreign.” I’d gather that most of the Powers That Be in the media grew up and still live in a segregated world, hence the obsession with such a small, ordinary gesture.

  3. Ha! I clicked over to post Gina’s link from WAOD – like I am trying to do on every other blog that mentions the fist pump aka dap of legend (like a voice crying in the wildnerness – do NOT exoticize us! Don’t do it!)But I see you are already there!Also, LOVE all of your photo essays!

  4. Hi Snob,I think this is really about the astoundingly bad media. The ‘dap’ analysis is cheap. It doesn’t cost much to sit around pontificating about the meaning of the ‘dap’.It also takes no talent to do so. It takes a certain amount of journalistic talent to figure out what really happened when Dick Cheney shot that guy, or to find out who cooked the CIA books that led to the American war in Iraq.When I see stuff like this in the media it just re-enforces my belief that corporate news media exist for entertainment purposes only.Monie

  5. They did the same thing after he brushed his shoulders off at Hillary, like it was a secret code for black folks to attack her or something.It’s a Jay-Z song, white people. Get with it.*sigh*

  6. I sometimes get the feeling that some White people don’t want to be “left out”.Like weaves. I rocked my (dookie) braids hard core in elementary school. Microwaved (yes I’m country!) ponytails so I could give my real hair a break. Even had a Tina Turner wig I would wear time to time.But then the news broke that white women in Hollywood wore extensions. Now I got white girls telling me how to clip/sew in an extension. I kinda want to tell them that they are 15 years too late, at least for me.

  7. I dunno…the whole “wow what are you/those Negroes doing now thing” really bores me. White folks either feign ignorance of all things black ( which is really just American behavior ) or they really don’t pay a lick of attention to anything that’s now “White”. Regardless…they really bore me. Tell you what. Let’s put Richardson as VP and let them see how it feels to have the concerns of people of color come first for a change.

  8. I call it the pound heard round the world!! But I liked it because to me as black person it symbolized their partnership and it showcased black love!! My personal favorite was when Barack dusted his shoulders off, but hey I was feeling like a pimp too!! Anyway I think they are right the Obamas will be kind like a tutorial or science fair project being observed for many whites on what most black folk do and how black folks live in addition to how the media portrays us. Unfortunately just because the role model is more Huxtable than Good Times many whites will now change their views to be that there are two black Americas the good and the bad as opposed to realizing we are just like them with many different views and more hues! -OG

  9. @OGYeah, I was thinking that exactly the other day. We are in for a whole lot of Huxtable comparisons. I live overseas in a very white country and before I was just a curiosity to people and co-workers. I could see them wondering “Who’s this educated black chick? That’s different” and now it feels like “Oh, she was one of those Obama types! Now it all makes sense. Oh wow we have an Obama type here with us!” You know I am ready to move…

  10. As a (really) white guy who spent a year in federal prison I can tell you that I was new to daps 14 years ago when I went. However, it became clear to me that *everybody* and not just black folks were greeting each other with knuckles rather than any palm to palm contact. I asked my cellmate why and the answer was pretty obvious once explained: “In here, you never know what was the last disgusting thing some other stupid human may have touched…and with healthcare inside being somewhat of a joke, nobody wants to risk infection from others on their Tier.” Daps arose as a simple matter of public health in prison, and if it were truly a symbol of “black culture” somebody is going to have to explain to me how I had observed so many Peckerwoods and Skins and other white “supremacists” waliking around doing the same thing, if my thesis that it is just germophobia (a la Howie Mandel) isn’t true.I find it insulting and racist that something that is just “prison culture” is being adopted by the mainstream as equivalent to “black culture” as if whatever happens in prison is exclusively the domain of black people. Wouldn’t you agree this is an ignorant media message?

Leave a Reply

Back to top
%d bloggers like this: