Crabs in a Barrel

The image that I chose to analyze for this assignment is a photo of African Americans being depicted as crabs in a barrel. This is an image that resonates very well to me, and should be relatable to others as well. This image is a very real depiction of life and how some cases of success can lead to unfortunate behaviors from others. In the image you can see the jealousy and self-hate (as in within your own race), popping out of the photo. For the African-American community, this image really hits home. It tells the story of so much of our history and some of the struggles that we have today. This is the reason why African-Americans are shown as the crabs in the barrel. We are the target audience. 

When you look at the image, you can see African Americans trying to climb out of a barrel. The arms that are of crabs given to the people as well as the water that is surrounding them, helps to depict the “crabs in the barrel” message. Not only are the African Americans in this image trying to climb out of the barrel, but others in the image are pulling the ones down that are closest to the top, closest to making it out. You can even see a few people in the image just sitting in the water, motionless, almost as if to be depicted as hopeless. I see people being selfish, uncompassionate, and filled with hate.  

Unfortunately, in many cases in the African American community, people would rather see you at your lowest or stuck in your worst state than to see you prosper. It is very comparative and similar to people telling you that you cannot do something or not wanting to see you do well, simply because they can’t. In some cases, people want to see you do well, just not better than them. Some people want to see you be successful, as long as they can come along for the journey. People will say that they support you, but are never around when you need them most, only when it pertains to their needs. Lastly, sadly, people love to see you fail. Not only so that you can end up at ground zero again, along with them, but also to say, “I told you so”. As a result of many of these instances we see a lot of hate within our own people. 

Jealousy, envy, and the overall “crabs in the barrel” mentality is a root issue to many of the problems within the African American community.  

The theme from this image is to let go of all the jealousy, envy, and hatred that is within you. You should feel happy for others in their success, especially when in often times, they come from underprivileged situations. If you were to have any feelings from someone else’s success, it should be motivation. In order for people to prosper, especially in the African American community, we need to come together.


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