The Shakes

When greeting persons of varying ethnicities, I think it is just par for the course that you don’t want to be off-putting as a black man by engaging in what is commonly known in our community as the “Dap.” For those unfamiliar [read the white people who secretly look at the blog to know how to interact with the black people in their office] with the dap, well, a picture is worth 1,000 words right:

Terrorist Fist Bump

The Obamas are close. This, however, is called a “pound” in various black communities. At least, that’s how I learned it where I grew up in South Jersey.

Jigga and 'Ye have it down

This is more what I was going for. The “dap” exchanged the world over in the black community. Problem is, in multicultural environments, this kind of shake, sometimes involving sweeping arms motions, snaps, and sounds, [think Will and Jazz on Fresh Prince] can be quite hard for white folk to master. YET THEY STILL TRY. It’s happened to you before. You’re going in for the “what’s up” regular handshake and some white guy tries to rape your hand with the weakest, messiest, most¬†ill-conceived shake in the world. He’s left feeling satisfied. His cultural swag, in his mind, is at 100,000. You, well, you’re left feeling violated.

For some reason, when people of other races try to interact with black folk, they want to adopt things that we have made uniquely our own. Hey, can you really blame them? Black is . . .well . . . the new Black. The Obamas are en vogue. Tyra had a show for a while. All the white celebrities are adopting black babies. Who wouldn’t want to adopt some of our cultural hallmarks?

Problem is, we don’t need white people to try to make us feel more comfortable by adopting our mannerism. We will be ok. White folk mess them up nine times out of ten anyway. Then, as the black person, you don’t want to call them on it because then you’re being difficult when it wasn’t you who wanted to do the funky dap thing in the first place.

We are in a professional environment. Just shake my damn hand like a regular adult male and I will appreciate it.

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  1. […] done posts in the past about the hand shake dilemma between Black and White people. When Black people and White people […]



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