There is a conversation happening in the deaf community post-election about how to shorten President-elect Joe Biden’s name to become part of the colloquial American Sign Language, according to reports.
A top choice is a hand gesture that has one hand making a “c” shape around an eye. It’s apparently a reference to Biden’s use of aviator sunglasses.
However, many have reportedly pushed back on social media, saying the gesture looks like a gang sign, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“We BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of color) completely disagree with that [sign],” American Sign Language influencer and TikTok user Nakia Smith signed in a video on Monday. "[The sign] feels so unsafe for us.”
Smith, and others, say the “c” gesture resembles a symbol used by members of the Crips gang in some cities. Some argue the connection could be dangerous for signers and potentially embarrassing for the incoming Biden administration.
Other options for Biden include something based on his initials, a reference to his slicked-back hair, or a reference to his smile.
A shorthand sign language name is commonly given by friends and family in childhood, but the process of picking a name for a prominent or famous person requires the deaf community to come together and discuss options.
The purpose of having one is to replace having to sign every letter in the person’s name.