From the cover story of this week's Newsweek entitled "Independent's Day":
"Arriving at the basketball courts of PS 127, [Attorney General Eric]Holder bumps into a couple of old schoolyard buddies, greets them with a soul handshake and falls into an easy banter, reminiscing about "back in the day" when they dominated the hardcourt."The article leads up to the possibility of Holder appointing a special prosecutor to look into the Bush administration torture policies. This quote is from a section where the writer seems to have taken the magazine's generic tactic of following the profiled figure back to "where it all started." Holder, who is another part of Obama's racial breakthrough team being the first African American AG, grew up in NYC. When he returned there, it seems like a few of his neighborhood pals who were also politicians happened to just stop by and they exchanged what is referred to as "soul handshakes."
What exactly is a "soul handshake"? I think it would be easier to attempt to do one then describe it in words. I think it is short hand for an urbanized secret handshake but the choice of words I found poor and confusing. It seems to be trying to show how in with his culture he was and maybe how surprising it would be. It does add a bit of flavor to the paragraph but seems to be an underhanded qualifier of Holder's ethnicity by the article's author Daniel Klaidman.
Klaidman doing the talking head thing on some network.
As you can see, Klaidman is a white man, so this handshake reference seems to confirm an outsider's perspective and voice while trying to connect Holder to his roots. It's not some overtly racial comment but upon reading the clause, it appeared very odd & unique. Maybe one day I can use it in reference to what I might see walking down the streets of New York City.
Otherwise, Mr. Klaidman's interesting profile of an integral member of Obama's cabinet, that hasn't yet had too much focus on him especially in comparison to the president himself or his new Supreme Cort Justice nominee Sonia Sotomayor is a worthwhile read that will pretty good read. Read the whole article from the beginning.
Newsbusters Post on the Holder Story