Some things are so ingrained in popular culture that we forget their true meaning. Take the ubiquitous gang sign. Who among us in a time of weakness has not resorted to that old saw when presented with the question, "What should I do with my hands in my marketing department's 'fun photo?'" or "How do I make sure I stand out in the Class of 1993's senior portrait?" Don't act like it's just me. You know you've done it.
But what is a gang sign, really, and what is its purpose? To answer this question we went straight to the authority on gang culture, Wikipedia:
"Throwing up" a gang sign (e.g., "Stacking," "walk") with the hands is one of the most known and obvious forms of "claiming." 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" as opposed to just passing through.
So, remember, next time you see someone throwing a gang sign who really shouldn't be, don't be so quick to write them off. They might be in the area to "do business," after all. Just take a look at these folks. Vote for your favorites and, by all means, if you've got photographic evidence of yourself "claiming," share it with us.