“White Chicks and Gang Signs”

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The “White Chicks and Gang Signs” music video can be viewed here. It was posted at Racialicious, where there is a provocative comments thread with some very divergent opinions. It’s hard to understand without any context what is being signaled, or of everyone is signaling the same things. At least some of the girls in the photos featured in the video may be mimicking hand gestures that they see popular musicians use, in homage. Maybe some of the girls are in gangs, while others are making fun of gangs. The entire focus of the video is on girls only for some reason, though white boys engage in the same behaviors.

The video also reminded me of the great “satan worshipping hand sign” controversy that erupted after my high school year book was published in the early 1980s, which was something we had all learned from heavy metal performers. Bob Dole made a similar gesture a lot when he was running for president, but he said he was signing this. I’m not trying to trivialize this issue, just point out that more information is needed before strong conclusions are drawn. (But if you do want an oddball illustration of the fact that context is crucial, go here). Via Liz Losh.

–Ann Bartow

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