Gang Hand Signs
Hand signs have existed in many societies and meanings are normally culturally derived. So are gang hand signs within gangs. Gang hand signs have evolved over time and have come to mean different things to different cultures.
Gang hand signs are now so pervasive in modern society that many persons use these gang hand signs and are not even aware they are using them. However, gang hand signs have pervaded our everyday living through popular culture, especially through television music videos. Gang hand signs are also in movies, comedies and sitcoms. Originally, gang hand signs had two main purposes. They were used to identify membership or to antagonize rival gangs. That being the case, knowing where you are and who you are with becomes critical in choosing where and when to use these gang hand signs. It is quite unfortunate that our children seem to be so caught up in every fad that they are not even aware that they are supporting a popular culture when they ignorantly reenact these gang hand signs as normal greeting.
Used a lot in hip-hop videos, gang hand signs become everyday signs the uninitiated takes for granted. Whether it is a particular handshake or stylish gesture, some of these gang hand signs have devastating meanings and significance. Once thought of as offensive, these gang hand signs are now glorified. Just as how data is encrypted to conceal sensitive information, gang hand signs are encrypted messages to prevent the unauthorized access to their meanings.
Interesting to note, some of these gang hand signs had their beginnings in worthy causes. For example: the black power sign was used as a political statement in the sixties to represent black pride. However, this sign of the folded fist has now become one of a slew of gang hand signs with meanings not so noble as the origins. A lot of gang hand signs now belong to gangs notorious for drugs and murder. Quite a bit of gang hand signs that are displayed in the open belong to the popular gangs of the Crips. Of the about thirteen popular gang hand signs around, about five belong to the Crips. These gang hand signs are Kitchen Crip, Compton Crip, Underground Crip, Hoover Crip and Mafia Crip. Quite a number if these gang hand signs have been decrypted or uncovered and have been illustrated for educational purposes. Parents who are often times unaware should especially note this fact. Knowing what these gang hand signs look like can help in mitigating the incidences of their children ending up in gangs.
Though it may sound crazy, the gangs through their gang hand signs are giving our children identity, creating a culture and shaping an environment that a normal family environment is not giving to them. These gang hand signs are building their self-esteem and self worth in ways that the lack of affection and simple hugs are not. When they display these gang hand signs they are brought into a world of secrecy and power that they are not getting from their homes. Gang hand signs are more than symbols to those who own them and participate in them. These gang hand signs have become a way of life. These gang hand signs emit power, identity, and a sense of belonging to something greater than one self. Gang hand signs represent a bond among members of a family of choice. Though the stakes are at times high, gang hand signs mean different things to different people. Gang hand signs also represent for some the mantra of the hip-hop culture – money, power and respect.