The Obama “Fist Bump”: It’s Called Giving Dap/Pound

Please, mainstream media workers and journalists and newscasters of America, it’s not called a “fist bump,” it’s called giving dap or a pound (Wikipedia). Where have you all been culturally for the last…40 years or so that you have never heard those terms? As presumably professionally trained journalists and media workers, who are supposedly covering nationwide cultural trends and events, has this really escaped your radar so long? “Fist bump”? That sounds terrible, in league with the terms “baby bump”and “bumping uglies.” The term sounds likea bunch of anthropologists stumbling upon some aliens on Mars…”and then they engaged in a ‘fist bump.’”

Obamas seal the deal with “dap”; knocking of knuckles epitomizes historic moment (Seattle Times)

In fact, said Anthony Neal, a professor of black popular culture at Duke University, the dap probably does trace its early origins to the black-power salute of the 1960s.

But it morphed into what it is today — lateral instead of vertical — in the intersection of hip-hop and the National Basketball Association in the 1980s.

In the years since, it has become familiar beyond the black world to many Americans younger than 50, especially to anyone glued to a television as professional athletes congratulate each other on exceptional performance.

A Brief History of the Fist Bump (Time magazine)

The origins of the bump are murky, though most communication experts agree on a basic — if fuzzy — evolutionary timeline: the handshake (which itself dates back to medieval times) begat the “gimme-five” palm slap that later evolved into the now universal “high-five” and, finally, the fist bump.

Some claim the act of knuckle-bumping began in the 1970s with NBA players like Baltimore Bullets guard Fred Carter. Others claim the fist bump emerged off the court, citing the Wonder Twins, minor characters in the 1970s Hanna-Barbera superhero cartoon The Superfriends, who famously touched knuckles and cried “Wonder Twin powers, activate!’ before morphing into animals or ice sculptures. One might also credit germaphobics for the fist bump’s invention. Deal or No Deal host Howie Mandel reportedly adopted the gesture as a friendly way to avoid his contestants’ germs.

Even the terminology used to describe the silent move is under dispute. On reporting Obama’s speech, The New York Times described it stuffily as a “closed-fisted high-five” while Human Events racily suggested it was closer to “Hezbollah-style fist-jabbing,” (the phrase was later removed from the article). One Internet poster even referred to it as “the fist bump of hope.” Other terms for the move include “power five,” “fist pound,” “knuckle bump,” “Quarter Pounder” and “dap.”

Here’s a comment one reader left on the article (Obama: See No Evil) where the writer insanely referred to the dap/pound/”fist bump” as “Hezbollah-style fist-jabbing.” OMG. Dap/pound/”fist bumping” has been an American cultural feature for like 40 years…that’s description is just so creepy and, well, elitist, blind, ignorant, and yes, dirtily, underhandedly malicious–as if the writer isn’t stretching to try like so many others to make some kind of spurious links to gosh-knows-what because of his middle name…no, he’s not a member of Hezbollah, okay??? He’s a U.S. Senator for crying out loud!

Hezbollah style fist bump. How would Mr. Thomas possibly know about pounding? That would mean he’d have to get out of the country club and deal with, oh, the horror, middle- and lower-class Americans, including the military, as many posters have smartly pointed out. But I guess if he got out of his ivory tower, he wouldn’t be able to write his columns about the elitism of Obama (a black dude raised by a single white woman, so you know his background just has to be way more elite than Mr. Thomas’s). The irony is making my head and soul hurt. By the way, I love how he removed the fist-pound part of this article mid-day.

Justin Timberwolf, Culpeper, Va

3 Responses

  1. Love this post! Check out a very similar piece on SemiObama ( They also talk about the dap/pound and show Pat Buchanan and Ali G pounding . . .

  2. Yo man, da white folks been at da beach da whole time. Ya dig?


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