Crabs in a Barrel Mentality


So today I was talking about this “crabs in a barrel mentality” with a friend. We were saying how sad it is to see this amongst black people in the work place. Now don’t get me wrong there are some black people that do not have this mentality. There are some that are genuinely happy to see other black people succeed and prosper. Then there are the others. You have those that cannot stand to see another black person succeed. Before I get too deep into this, I want you to know that I am aware that this mentality is not just infectious among blacks; this mentality does exist within other races as well. Since I’m a black women at a corporate job, I can only speak from my experiences and what I see happening. Now that I have that disclosure out there here it is:

Think about where you work. Think about your top level of management. Now how many of those top level managers are black? How many are black women? Do the same thing for your middle level managers? How many are black? How many are black women? My guess would be not many, if any at all. So when you see that entry level worker that is working her butt off start to get some recognition, why try to bring her down? Why sit amongst your circle of “crabs” and dog her out because she wants to try to climb that “corporate ladder” or even just do better for herself. Why not encourage what she is trying to do? Or better yet, try doing some of the things you notice she is doing to get the same recognition you really want. But know most of us don’t think that way. Some of us rather dog that person out because we are too afraid that somebody may get one over us. I don’t get it.

As I said earlier this mentality exists within other races at the workplace. Guess what? It’s not as noticeable as it is among black people. Why? Because white people, for example, will still smile and greet the co-worker they are envious of. They will still work happily next to them. When they talk to each other it’s very cordial and in a pleasant tone. What do we do? Size the one that we are envious of up before we speak. Roll our eyes and are neck. Talk to that person in very nasty tone. If we have the case of this “crabs in a barrel” mentality really bad, we refuse to work next with them. Hmmm that last statement is all too familiar. I almost got a flash back. The problem with is those middle level managers see this, and believe it or not the top level do too.

I just hope that this mentality go away some day, so black women like myself can keep striving and actually make it to the top without some “crab” trying to pull us back down. Maybe that’s too farfetched. In the meantime I’m gonna try to stay away from the “crabs” at work with my “crab repellant” 🙂 .

~Hazel~


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5 thoughts on “Crabs in a Barrel Mentality

  1. Auntie Cindy says:

    I was always the ONLY black person at my corporate jobs. I never had to deal with this “crab in a barrel” issue. I think that this mentality is sad and misguided.

  2. stephanie says:

    Thanks for sharing this mentality with me today! It is SO true and has given me inspiration to not get caught up by any “crabs” in the future!

  3. Lina says:

    So true interviewed with an older Black female manger and instead of trying to help or mentor she was envious of my education and experience and it showed in her tone of voice with me. So sad that Black women are often crabs. But in the end karma will impact her and people like her.

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