Is the Fist Bump the New High-Five? The gesture caught public attention when Michelle and Barack Obama bumped fists right before he claimed victory as the Democratic presidential nominee. While it may be new to politics, however, it's been around for years, says Youth Radio's Lauren Silverman.
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Is the Fist Bump the New High-Five?

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Is the Fist Bump the New High-Five?

Is the Fist Bump the New High-Five?

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ALEX COHEN, host:

It's time again for What's The New What? It's our weekly series from Youth Radio about trends in youth culture. But this week's "What" wasn't proposed by someone under the age of 30.

Ms. MICHELLE OBAMA (Wife, Senator Obama): It is now my signature bump, but let me tell you I'm not that hip. I got this from the young staff. That's the new high five. Yes. It's the fist bump.

COHEN: That was Michelle Obama, appearing on the TV show, "The View," last week, talking about her now famous gesture. So is the fist bump the new high five? Here's Youth Radio's Lauryn Silverman.

LAURYN SILVERMAN: What's The New What? Well I can tell you that the fist bump definitely is and isn't the new high five. We took to the streets of Oakland, California, to bring you the isn't.

Unidentified Woman #1: I did used to work with someone just a year ago that would always say, give me some knuckles, and that's the fist bump he would do, but I always thought he was a little out of date.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Unidentified Man #1: I kind of find the fist bump a little awkward myself, but people have given me the fist bump more than the high five.

Unidentified Woman #2: It's not even the young people who started it. It just moved down to her.

Unidentified Woman #3: We give her the wiggles, the wiggles with the fingertips.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Unidentified Woman #3: We'll be like hey what's up. Slap hands or whatever, but we don't dap no more.

SILVERMAN: Giving dap, the fist bump, the pound, whatever name you call it, nearly every person we spoke to said that bumping fists, the way Barack and Michelle Obama did on stage in Minnesota, is something that people have been doing for a long, long time.

Mr. GARLIN GILCHRIST II (Co-founder, SuperSpade.com): That is about as old as - it's older than the civil rights movement. I put it to you like that.

SILVERMAN: That's 25-year-old Garlin Gilchrist II. Co-founder of the SuperSpade.com, a blog that focuses on issues affecting African-Americans. Gilchrist says that even though he's been giving dap his whole life, that in one way Michelle Obama is right, the fist bump is new - to presidential politics.

Mr. GILCHRIST: It fits into Barack Obama's whole framing of this election, as a changed election. Subtext is we're changing how things are done around here. We're changing who's in charge around here. This is a new day so this is the new high five. This is the new leadership. This is the new style.

SILVERMAN: But some styles work only in certain settings. So young people like Leon Sykes(ph), have whole portfolios of handshakes that they change up depending on the social context.

Mr. LEON SYKES (Young Person): I mean there are so many different ones it's crazy. Some close friends, but not like really close, we do the five hand slaps where it's kind of like five real quick high fives kind of low. My sister and I, we do the old school handclap where you slap it, throw a hand back.

SILVERMAN: Whether your handshake comes with a noise, a bump, or a slap depends not only on your age, but what kind of connection you're looking to make.

COHEN: Youth Radio's Lauryn Silverman. What's your new high five? You can send us photos, videos or a written description of your favorite greeting. Send them to what@npr.org.

MADELEINE BRAND, host:

Day to Day's a production of NPR News, with contributions from slate.com. High five. I'm Madeleine Brand.

COHEN: I'm Alex Cohen.

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