Straight Up! No Chaser!: Crabs Don’t Make Friends

Tonya Crew, JDCRABS



A Commenatary by Tonya Crew, JD

Somehow the world has changed to the point that finding a “true friend” is a pretty tough endeavor.  (Don’t even get me started on dating.)  First you must understand what friendship really is.  True friends are “ride or die” people who understand not only the give and take of friendships, but the sacrifices and virtues associated with it.  I remember having friends back home that I would do anything for and I knew they would do anything for me.  I get it that people can disappoint but I have been really hard pressed to find friend-quality individuals here in the Northeast.  I still believe that people in the South are friendlier.  But that doesn’t mean Southerners have the moral high ground. 

People throw around the word friend, but how many of these folks would you go out of your way for?  I would proffer the word friend should be exchanged for associate.  More often than not people are so busy practicing their “crab skills” they forget their friends are supposed to be immune to their antics.  Unfortunately, families are practicing the same unacceptable behavior under the guise of jealousy and envy, and our culture and community have suffered.  We are not a stronger people because we have self-serving crabs in our barrel. 

Look at other cultures in this country—they pool their funds, they share their resources, they keep their money local.  But truthfully, what keeps Black Americans from following this successful model?  What do family, friends, culture and community really mean to you?  Would you sacrifice a little to gain much?  That is what friendship is all about. 

But the reality is, there are tons of people out there hoping to find a fool who still believes in "friendship", take advantage and scurry away seeking their next victim.  Understandably, there are untold numbers of damaged people in our communities, but we are headed in the wrong direction for a cure, especially when they turn that “crab” behavior on their familiars.   No new age Martin is going to show up to save us, and frankly, you can forget the government assessing any true value to our people’s existence.  Can anyone say Native American?  It’s our major weakness, since the first light-skinned slave moved into the house.  Crabbing is the unnatural evolution of our culture situation and only we can fix it.

Crabs don’t make friends—they grab on, pull you down and step over you to get to a perceived top or sadly, just for their entertainment.  Take a moment to examine your “friendships” then ask yourself the hard questions. 

I want to offer a couple of “real” solutions.  First of all DON’T BE A CRAB or tolerate a crab in your inner circle.  Crabs are like bullies; you take their power away by condemning their reprehensible behavior.  My second suggestion is—don’t listen to people who gossip or carry the torch for crabs.  If you find yourself in a position to elevate someone, do the right thing.  I have experienced the heights of great friendships and the lows of extending it to the wrong person.  Get it together Black people.  We are so much better than that and while there is no blame in this, we need to sow fields of future leadership and role models, personal and professional and in case you haven’t noticed, our people harvest is falling apart—even the “well to do.”  We need to get back to our ROOTS—to what brought our people through slavery; to caring for and about one another, in all our relationships. 

We know what happens to the crabs, so let’s re-write the story.  We ultimately control what we do and whom we do it to—so stop the madness and let’s start a movement.  Be true to others and to yourself.  What do you think? 

“If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. . . We need not wait to see what others do.” –Gandhi



One Response to Straight Up! No Chaser!: Crabs Don’t Make Friends

  • Just Sayin' says:

    What a powerful message from Ms. Crew. It is about as plain as the noses on our faces that we are not following the one rule that has to be followed if we are to succeed: We must help each other up and stop pushing each other down.  I would like to take it just once step further and state that not only in business, but in every aspect of our lives and through out our entire society. If we are to be the nation that stands tall we must stop trampling each other down to try to get to the top. Take Ms. Crew's advice and start working together. Each person will achieve more if we are striving for it together.

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