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Crabs in a BarrelDear advanced animals humans,

Time after time, I keep being referenced in your discord. Well, enough.

I come from a long line of crustaceans. There are over 6,000 species of us, give or take. Marine water, freshwater, land, we have shown an amazing tendency to adapt.

Our origin is somewhat of a mystery, our presence is an evolutionary marvel. We’re viewed as sacred emblems in many cultures, including the zodiac Cancer (latin for crab) which is when the sun is at its peak. But we’re not always viewed so favorably.

Y’all like to consume us. Why? Who knows. It’s not enough to have plants, fruit or even four-legged land animals. We have to be a staple of your sustenance, too. Whatever. Life feeds on life, so I ain’t trippin on that.

What I do take offense at is a particular mischaracterization of our existence. Recently, a character from the movie Best Man called us out, comparing Black people to us. This is common practice, especially when minorities are concerned:

“We (Black people) have a crab mentality where we still pull each other down because of choices that we make.”

He said some other stuff about marrying an Asian woman and Black women, but all I heard was “crab mentality.”

What’s a crab mentality? As stated earlier, we’re aquatic and terrestrial creatures. Buckets? Nah. We’re placed there because of your desire to consume us, not to mention an unnatural pursuit of profit.

We don’t belong in crates. When you take an organism out of its natural habitat, strange things happen. I imagine the same is true with you, especially when forced to assimilate into a dominant culture.

The reorientation of your identity is tied to the ideals of that dominant culture, leading to a sort of cultural amnesia. Envy is a by-product of a lack of identity. If one knows who he or she is, then what is there to covet?

It may look like we’re fighting each other, but maybe our grasping and pulling is a misguided attempt of keeping close. Like all multi-cellular creatures, we view our survival collectively. It can work both ways, either we rise or we stay down…together.

Similar to you, we know how it feels to be uprooted and having to adjust to newer constrained environs. Whether it’s in a boiler or land, jealousy (yes, animals get jealous) is the offspring of a group seeking to recover lost identity.

When true knowledge of origin eludes an organism, that organism can be easily controlled by their “captors” in a zero-sum, king-of-the-hill game.

All of us don’t have the power to escape the clutches of your cleverness and hunting gadgets. You, on the other hand, have all the resources you need, yet finger-pointing, indolence and general disenfranchisement serve as barriers to collective progress. There isn’t a lid on your “barrel” either, except the ones you place on yourselves.

Situations tend to look rosier from the outside, so take that with a couple of salt shakers. However, we face the same existential crisis. So please, let’s cut the “crab in a bucket” meme and recognize the situation for what it is: We don’t know how to act in a bucket because we’re not meant for a bucket.

Get rid of it and, well, I’m not writing this letter.

Guess we’re more alike in that regard than we realize. Please avoid seafood for a while.

Peace,

One Emancipated Crab

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