The Dalai Lama, The Memphis Mayor, The Fist Bump, & The Wu-Tang Clan

The older I get I find myself becoming less and less a fan of Negro greetings. You know, like the high five, a pound, dap, or as some of our melanin deficient kinfolk have now termed the “terrorist fist bump”? Back when I was coming up, there was a new Negro handshake at least twice a week and it was cool to learn them with your boys. But then after a while it got complicated and nothing was more embarrassing than not being in sync with the current handshake and making yourself look like a complete fool in front of your peers. Being the nerd I was, this was always a problem at parties and such.

“Yeah son, tha’ hell you doin’, that shit is like two weeks old, son!”

Did white people ever have that problem? I doubt they ever did; and I’m pretty sure the standard handshake was always good enough. That said, why is that when they encounter “the brothers” as they call us they feel the need to go out of character and hit us with that “gimme five,” thing? I’m sayin’, we don’t even greet each other like that anymore; and I don’t think we have since The White Shadow was canceled. Shit, this ain’t the 70’s, and we don’t play that “J.J. Evans” type shit. We still giving head nods, but we ain’t down with that shuckin’ and jivin’ bullshit; at least me and the people I know are not down with it. No suh, us folk ain’t be down wit dat!

Nothing chaps my ass more than when I’m witness or a direct recipient to such shallowness or disrespect. And please believe, I’ve seen it a time or two in my short time on this planet. What, is it too much to shake my hand when you meet me or we’re introduced? In a professional setting no less? One time the Vice President at my then place of employment greeted my then 6yr old like that on one of those “take your kid to work” days. I was never more proud of my daughter when she told him that we shake hands in our family. I guess he was a bit embarrassed as he gave me that nervous but awkward look. Shit, after that encounter he should have given me a raise; I’m just sayin, yo, protect ya neck.

I guess this is why I’m a bit disappointed in Myron Lowery our current Mayor Pro-Tem (who’s Black by the way) when he greeted his holiness the Dalai Lama here in Memphis yesterday. You see, Mr. Lama (hope he doesn’t mind me calling him that) was in town to try out some of that good ole Memphis BBQ he’s heard so much about and smoke weed with Elvis receive the International Freedom Award from the National Civil Rights Museum. Upon his arrival in the city, he was greeted by our mayoral fill-in Myron Lowery with some “Dap” (or a fist bump), and a “Hello Dali!” Supposedly he was joking about the “Hello Dali,” line, and supposedly it took Mr. Lama (see how respectful I am? I called him mister.) some time before he got the joke. But you know what they say: after the laughter comes tears.

I don’t know if Myron Lowery thought it was an audition for the movie Rush Hour 15, and he was the new Chris Tucker, but that shit wasn’t funny. He’s lucky Mr. Lama didn’t take offense and commence to put one of those Shaolin beatdowns on his ass; he did say he thought it was a violent symbol; you never know, he might be down with the Wu-Tang Clan and ain’t nuthin to f*ck with. Of course you may not see this as a big deal. But if it isn’t, try the very same gesture the next time you’re on a job interview. Yes, the minute you walk in for your interview, do yourself a favor and greet your interviewer with a fist bump and a “wassup dawg!” Yeah, do that if you’re Black and see how far that gets you. Yep, this is why I get pissed when I see people of color on the receiving end of hipsters who obviously don’t view them as equals or deserving of respect.

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