crabs-in-a-barrel-ka-son-reeves

Hey what’s going on good people, it’s one half of the crew returning. I was told to step my post game up since I stay away too long. Realized I do need to get on my grind for you guys. With that said, let me get on it. As always I was having an interesting conversation with peers. The topic of choice was about cultural dynamics and the togetherness noted throughout different communities. The conversation progressed into several subtopics and the hierarchy found throughout different cultures. Based on the title of this piece I am sure everyone is wondering where I am going with this whole concept. Of course my wheels were spinning again causing me to come on BLWNL.com and talk my talk. Walk with me for a minute as I travel this path.

Given that I am an African-American male in my late 20’s I tend to view life as it relates to me first. Then I try to see life from a different perspective and combine the two ideals. As previously stated the conversation was about different cultures and I became so intrigued and disappointed at the same time. The concept of strengthening a community from within appeals to me as a community driven person. As I sat down and viewed other cultures, ultimately I had to compare my own. The black community or African American community is that of which I have always identified, so I speak from what I know. The Jewish and Asian cultures are two of which I believe are structurally intact. They come in, set up shop, profit, bring family in, move on to the next situation. The Jewish as well as the Asian also assist others that may not be family. Meaning if they identify with you they attempt to help you succeed in some form or fashion. I respect that 100%, something unfortunately I feel the African American community has gotten away from.

Naturally everyone has heard the cliché of “crabs in a barrel” but what does it really mean. For those of you whom have been living under a rock all of your life, picture this concept. When you have live crabs in a barrel or bucket they are constantly fighting with each other to get out. They pull each other back, step on each other to get to the top. Unbeknownst of the fate they are speedily racing towards. I choose this particular metaphor because as I look around my community, it is full of crabs. I look at the potential we have and the shackles that bind us, given the crabs within makes it even more difficult to overcome. All it takes is one bad crab, one tugs on another and steps on the other, now they all are fighting against each other. Looking around crabs can be better spotted as dream crushers. Dream crushers people who tell you what you can’t do, people who try to bring you down, people who try to steal your ideas, or attempt to close doors off. Crabs can be spotted all over, trying to prevent you from fully shining bright. In the black community we tend to be separated at many levels. Think about how often we as a people say things like “that’s why I don’t go to black owned establishments.” On one hand that’s the most disrespectful community hating statement one can ever make, however on the other something happen that required this comment. We have to do better with running a business and supporting black own businesses.

Grandparents speak all the time of things called “mom and pop stores” which flourished in the black community. Unfortunately we do not have the immense amount of black run business, they still exist but in a very minimal aspect. We have to help each other, learn out to produce a business worth supporting. We also have to learn how to support good business. Learn how to network. Networking gives an opportunity for you to have a door opened for you; however it allows you to open a door for somebody else. Pass the word around, many people are found by word of mouth. If come across somebody worthy of your words share them with friends. Stop being a crab. As a black man I find myself in heavy competition with other black men in my position. Some want me to do well and go as far as I can, others are crabs who will purposely try to make you look bad so they can advance first. I approach life from a different angle, once a door is opened for me I want to open another for somebody else to follow. I want everybody to be great as a whole.

Coming to a close, look around your life both personal and professional. Identify the crabs, you will see them working hard to hold you back. Overcome all the negative energy they are sending and continue to grow. Crabs are known as bottom feeders. Bottom feeders live at the bottom of water eating all the nonsense they can find. In life these crabs you come in contact with want you at the bottom for whatever reason. The interesting thing is when you’re a threat you will always be a target. So watch out for the claws reaching for you. If we learn to work together everybody eats good.  On that note, about to grab my mallet and go smash some crabs. Maybe I can open doors for the next person. Maybe somebody reading this is a CRAB and gets called out on it. Be great, help others get great and We all can shine.

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Comments
  1. Whitney D says:

    totally agree with your comments. I think that the Black community has been on a downward spiral since the end of segregation. As soon as white establishments began to allow African-Americans to frequent their businesses or attend their schools, many of them flocked to the chance, thus decreasing the amount of African-Americans supporting our own. Take for instance the chitling circuit, you have a thriving Black entertainment ring. Black artists, black venues and black audiences. However, as Black artists are allowed to start playing at larger white venues, promoted on white radio stations, and paid to pay for white artists, the chitling circuit soon ceases. White America also only allows space and opportunity for very few of us, thus creating an internal completion within each other to be the best and keep the others down, to be able to occupy that lone or rare spot of acceptance or success as deemed by the whites. Black people have got to begin educating themselves on their history again, learn to establish and maintain their own business and realize that the success and longevity of this community, however broken it may be, is worthy of their money, time and effort.

  2. Mal says:

    I definitely think that you raised some very valid points here. Personally, I think that your perspective is an interesting one being from and residing in Baltimore compared to my experiences on the Eastern Shore of MD. Because the area where I grew up is overwhelmingly majority white, the black community seems to be more tight knit. In my head there is a white Salisbury and black Salisbury. However, when it came to my educational experiences at home, I was chastised for being in magnet programs and for skipping a grade. It’s really unfortunate that the mentality of crabs in a barrel that generations before us have exhibited have snuck into our own mindsets. I truly didn’t appreciate being black and educated until I started at Towson. I went from being teased for being black and educated to being empowered and truly finding myself, which is why I cherish Baltimore so much. Thank you for this reminder to remove negativity and promote positivity to uplift ourselves and our community. Will share this with friends.

  3. Akinee says:

    Together We Shine. Great post!

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