White Chicks & Gang Signs Meets Bloomberg

White Chicks & Gang Signs Meets Bloomberg
Mayor Betsy Hodges poses for a photo where her spokesperson says she and a convicted felon are simply pointing at each other and not making gang signs. (AP Photo/Neighborhoods Organizing for Change)

Mayor Betsy Hodges poses for a photo where her spokesperson says she and a twice convicted felon are simply pointing at each other and not flashing gang signs. (AP Photo/Neighborhoods Organizing for Change)

The peculiar phenomenon of young white women posing for photos while making "gangsta" hand gestures is so well known that "White Chicks and Gang Signs" is the subject of multiple websites (whitechicksgangsigns.tumblr.com and whitegirlsgangsigns.com) and a comical parody YouTube song.

This attempted homage to rap album covers always makes me want to ask why hip-hop has outlasted other musical forms like ragtime, Dixieland, big-band jazz, show tunes, "hootenanny"-style folk, rockabilly, doo-wop, folk-rock, psychedelia and even (shudder) disco. But as this is a gun site, not a musicology forum, we won't ask why white suburban teenagers and young adults find irresistible the sounds produced most authentically by drug dealers and pimps.

Now, when a gaggle of half-soused bridesmaids or sorority girls try to pose like Crips or Bloods, it's just comically pathetic. If the mayor of a major American city poses that way while standing with a convicted felon, that's just pathetic.

Minneapolis television station KTSP obtained a photo of Mayor Betsy Hodges posing with a man identified as a felon twice-convicted for drug selling and possession and illegal possession of a firearm.

When the photo became public, a mayoral mouthpiece stated the mayor was "just pointing" at the man, a risible claim that cut no ice with the law enforcement community, not least because Hodges is a member of Mike Bloomberg's Mayors Against Illegal Guns. 

I find it hard to work up a lot of outrage on this one; if the people of Minneapolis are OK with having their mayor mug for the camera like a half-lit college girl at a frat party, that's their lookout. I will point out that no matter how hard your expression may be or how authentically you duplicate the finger position of the Be Bop Watts Bloods, it's hard to roll with a lot of street cred when your name is Betsy.

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