Shortly after the coronavirus made itself known in the United States and there was ambiguity about its transmission, I read a Boston Herald article.
The article profiled a 2014 report in the American Journal of Infection Control about an educational experiment with gloves and E. coli bacteria. The scientists concluded that the fist bump was the most hygienic hand greeting, compared to the high five and the handshake.
I tweeted that on March 5. It was a Thursday and I worked as a high school substitute teacher. Over the next week, I avoided shaking hands with everyone. Instead, I fist bumped.
I don’t remember my first fist bump. It was years ago.
Until I clicked around while writing this blog post, I did not know the fist bump is considered a dap. I’d seen plenty of daps over the years, too.
Then I came across a history of the fist bump by LaMont Hamilton. He wrote that the dap began during the Vietnam War when Black soldiers agreed “to convey their commitment to looking after one another. Several unfortunate cases of Black soldiers reportedly being shot by White soldiers during combat served as the impetus behind this physical act of solidarity.”
“The dap was banned at all levels of the military, and thus many Black soldiers were court-martialed, jailed, and even dishonorably discharged as a punishment for dapping. Military repression of the dap further cemented a desire for a symbol of solidarity and protection among Black men.”