From the Vietnam War to the home front: the history of "the dap"

Kaylah Jackson
February 20, 2018 - 10:27 am

© Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

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A unspoken way to say "I got you, and you got me." An intimate form of communication. An expression of love. The "dap," which stands for "dignity and pride," came to rise during the 1960s and 1970s. 

It's a common greeting within the black community but its origins actually stretch back to the Vietnam War. While racial tensions at home during the Civil Rights era were reaching higher levels, black men stationed in the Pacific relegated to using "the dap," as a way to establish unity, pride and a sense of understanding.

Although they were fighting on the side of the U.S. and the military had been desgregated for 7 years, discriminatory attitudes and practices were very much alive on the home front and overseas. 

What started as a way for black G.I's to establish community, still remains a integral part of the black experience, as a way to say "what's understood doesn't need to be explained."