Text: The above image shows the gesture. It is similar to the shape people make with their fingers to make a gun, but instead of making the pointer finger straight, it is slightly hooked inward. One is also supposed to slightly shake their hand once it is in this position.
Context: One of my roommates whose ethnicity is Mexican shared a universal hand gesture between people in Mexico. She shared that it means “a person packs a lot of money…it’s like they’re wealthy, they have money, they’re rich” and that “because in Mexican culture pointing at someone or using someone’s direct name in an unmanly or rude manner is very disrespectful”. As a result, she said, “[they] use this form of sign to mention people who have money or as a way to speak about them and how they like have a lot of bucks”. She then provided an example of how friends will use this gesture with one another when mentioning wealth. She also talked about how this gesture is “widely used…like the middle finger…growing up [one] sees it and are like oh…it’s widely used in Mexico…anybody will know it even in other Latin cultures…predominantly used in Mexico”. When asked what she thought of it/its importance she said “[she] thinks it’s important in the way that it helps people identify cause [she] feels like there’s a huge wealth gap in Mexico and those who are usually very wealthy always live in the bigger cities…more unaware of other living circumstances of people”. Overall she stated that this gesture is “a way for people to refer to those people…oh they carry big bucks they’re not gonna understand how [they] live or the situation that these lower-income people live”. She discussed how this gesture most likely came about due to the large gap between lower and higher income and the gesture is a way for the lower class to “refer to them without referring to them directly”. That being said the gesture can be used in “a serious manner or a laughing manner”.
Analysis: I think in general it is not polite to point at people when you are talking about them, but I think in America it is more common to just talk quietly rather than use hand gestures with someone else. I think this hand gesture has to do with the fact that the gap between the wealthy and the unwealthy is a lot greater than in the United States. It might be even harder to jump that gap as well, not that it is super easy in the United States. As a result, this hand gesture to reference the vastly wealthy can create a sense of community, like being a part of a group. As mentioned, since the wealthy do not understand the less wealthy’s circumstances, this gesture could pose as a gesture that only the less wealthy understand. Kind of like this gesture is something for just this certain group of people that not even the wealthy people, who have everything, know.