Saturday, January 11

Evolution of the DAP

I’ve been looking into some of the history of the Dap, the greeting that can include slapping hands, bumping fists in any direction, snapping, wiggling fingers and other forms of contact which can last anywhere from a few seconds to more than a minute.

It was very popular with black (African-American) soldiers during the Vietnam war and has a history that predates that conflict. It may have been an acronym for dignity and pride (DAP) which certainly was evident during the Black Power movement of the civil rights era.

Some sources say that it dates to WWI and is more than a greeting as it tells the story of a black soldier and how he died.

It is also a form of sign language that can indicate agreement, celebration, or solidarity.

Some theorists claim that it is an acceptable way to show male affection.

Now it is used primarily as gang related and athletes greeting each other. Back in the 1950s, Dap was black slang for aware and up to date.

I first saw it in the Nam when it was the common greeting between black troops. Some of the white troops developed their own parody of the greeting called the “Milk Shake.” It ended up with the guys slapping their own asses.

I’ve seen people greeting each other with a fist bump and opening their hand dramatically. The Dap seems to have evolved into the high five and the chest bump.

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