What Does a White Bandana Mean?

In popular culture, a white bandana may symbolize gang affiliation, or it may signal the preference of a particular sexual fetish. Bandana colors have long been associated with gang affiliation, but the so-called hanky code is less familiar to mainstream audiences.

The wearing of a white bandana is potentially linked to a number of gangs. However, the association isn’t as strong or as familiar as the link between red and blue bandanas with the Bloods and Crips gangs, respectively. Black Gangster Disciples, Party People and Brothers of Struggle are examples of gangs linked with white bandanas along with other colors. In gay and fetish communities in particular, the hanky (or handkerchief) code helps identify individuals with shared sexual interests. White or colored bandanas tucked in back pants pockets provide this clue.