Gang signal

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A gang signal is a verbal or visual way gang members identify their affiliation. This can take many forms including slogans, hand signs, colored clothing, and graffiti. The wearer usually favors, or is in, that particular gang. Many of these, especially slogans and hand signs, have become part of popular culture.

Hand signs[edit]

"Throwing up" a gang sign (e.g., "Stacking", "page", "gang walk"[clarification needed]) with the hands is one of the most known and obvious forms of "claiming" or stating the gang one is affiliated with. It is used in many situations where other identifiers may not be possible or appropriate, and it can also show that a gang member is in the area to "do business"[clarification needed] as opposed to just passing through. Usually these signs are made by formation of the fingers on one or both hands to make some sort of symbol or letter.[1] It can also serve to relay more specific information, such as what set they represent within a larger gang or in which activities they are currently taking part. Individual letters can be used to tell stories when flashed in rapid succession, each representing a word beginning with that letter. These signs, because they are displayed only when wanted (as opposed to the types of identifiers above), are usually the most consistent across various areas. Many of these hand signals are quite close to other common hand signs, and this can cause confusion among gang members, non-gang members, and anti-gang authorities.

Another identifier that can be displayed only when desired is a gang handshake, which usually includes some component of the gang hand signs and/or other hand and finger symbols.[citation needed]


Clothing is a strong signal that all gangs show. The clothing gangs wear allows rival gangs to identify who is friend and who is foe. For example, the uniforms for many Hispanic gangs are standard and easily recognizable. Gangs such as the Latin Kings would wear long yellow T-shirts, baggy pants, and either a bandana or a hat, sometimes both. Black gang members are generally more individualistic with their clothing. The gang would wear specific clothing and certain accessories that would match their crew's colors. Examples include the Bloods, whose gang color is red, and the Crips, who wear blue. Most gang members wear brands such as Pro Club, Dickies, & Levi's.[2]


Bandanas can be worn in various types of colors and ways. This is done by gang members to signify which gang they are affiliated with. The most popular bandana colors are red, blue, black, white, grey, and yellow. It is typically worn on the left or right back pockets of gang members.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Gang Signs[self-published source?]
  2. ^ "How Are Gangs Identified". Los Angeles Police Department.
  3. ^ Waldron, Leah. "What Is the Meaning of Colored Bandanas?" EHow. Demand Media, 17 May 2010. Web. 05 Nov. 2012