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The Competition and the Roots of Filipino Crab Mentality

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Mayca Joy M. Amante. Department of Industrial Engineering, Adamson University. This research should be addressed to Mayca Joy M. Amante. Department of Industrial Engineering, Adamson University San Marcelino St. Contact: [email protected]

This paper explored some published articles from the online (Internet) and from the offline (non-Internet). This paper conveys research about some Filipinos’ negative traits like crab mentality and its behavior in competition. The Urban Dictionary (2002) defined crab mentality as “Crabs in a bucket can easily escape from the buck one at a time, but instead of doing that they pull each other down whenever one rises to the top – thus insuring their collective demise.” Crab mentality is best describe by this phrase “If I can’t have it, neither can you.” In some articles crab mentality is differently defined but it will give you the same idea to what crab mentality is.

Keyword: crab mentality

THE FILIPINO MIND-SET IN COMPETITION 3 The Competition and the Roots of Filipino Crab Mentality
Varieties of studies have been conducted a various facets of Filipino mind-set, focusing in Filipino: thinking, decision making, associating and having crab mentality. However, there are also results from different published articles that oppose the ideas about its roots. In the book, The Filipino Mind, Mercado (1994) stated that “People who have crab mentality attitude are all around us. We all go through this, the gossip and backstabbing, one way or the other. Cutting that kind of people in our lives proves to be a great solution.” To fully understand the Filipino crab mentality by researching from different books, articles and internet should be studied. This paper examines how Filipino think and take an action on how they deal with other people in competing with them.

What is Crab Mentality?
In Urban Dictionary (2002) stated that “Crabs in a bucket can easily escape from the bucket one at a time, but instead of doing that they pull each other down whenever one rises to the top – thus insuring their collective demise.This is analogous to the behavior of a person who diminishes or pulls down anyone else who achieves or is about to achieve success greater than their own.Crab mentality: We all like to see our friends get ahead, but not too far ahead. If I can’t have it, no one can have it.” Furthermore, “Crab mentality, sometimes referred to as crabs in the bucket, is a phrase that describes a way of thinking best described by the phrase THE FILIPINO MIND-SET IN COMPETITION 4 “if I can’t have it, neither can you.”

The metaphor refers to a pot of crabs. Individually, the crabs could easily escape from the pot, but instead, they grab at each other in a useless “king of the hill” competition which prevents any from escaping and ensures their collective demise. The analogy in human behavior is that members of a group will attempt to “pull down” (negate or Diminish the importance of) any member who achieves success beyond the others, out of envy, conspiracy or competitive feelings. (Wikipedia 2010). Why Filipinos have Crab Mentality?

Stone (2013) stated that Instead of congratulating other and looking to others as role models we find something to dislike about a person or find some way to put them down. It has to stop. It has plenty of similarity towards Filipinos having crab mentality towards other peoples’ success or anything else, and also knowing the history of African Americans in the US on the other hand. It’s our colonial mentality that is having us result in a crab mentality. Moreover, Cinnamon (2008) said that when a Filipino is doing well for him or herself, other Filipino’s hate to see them climb out of poverty. The gossip and rumors begin. Sarcasm and gestures creep in. When SOME of us Filipino’s have good income, they want to compete with other Filipino’s with having the biggest house or the latest model vehicle and who’s family is the most educated.

However, in the book Filipino Personality, Church (1986) said that its human nature really. I personally think they have this mentality to show to them that they made it and try hard to forget about where they came from and how they are better than that now. The more things they have like a big house, boat and a car just adds to this which is a shame. People shouldn’t forget where they come from but as sad as it is a lot of Filipinos who move abroad do so. To those who are THE FILIPINO MIND-SET IN COMPETITION 5 saying bad things and spread rumors are the ones who are just jealous and it can’t be helped as its human nature also. It’s a defense and coping thing that helps them get self assurance in regards to their situation. In the book of Counseling Psychology in the Philippines, Clemeña (1991) stated that when someone has a crab mentality, it means that he or she is unwilling to allow someone to get out of a situation or to get ahead.

People who are attempting to get out of bad life situations often find themselves foiled by friends and family members who keep sucking them back in. The mentality can strike at all levels of life. Some charitable organizations are sometimes accused of it, with members of the organization failing to think ahead or refusing to support certain initiatives in a way that ultimately drags the whole charity down. In office environments, the crab mentality can be particularly devastating, as coworkers snipe at each other to bring each other down, rather than congratulating someone who earns a promotion. This way of thinking is a reflection of the famous saying “we all like to see our friends get ahead, but not too far ahead.”

People who learn to recognize it in themselves can often find ways of counteracting it, which is a very good idea, especially for those who work or live in a highly competitive environment. “Sometimes competition brings out the worst in people; and that’s just human nature.” If the competition derives from your own family and brings out the “dark” side of them, is it acceptable? This is not to implicate that the Filipino race is the only one that experiences crab mentality. I am certain other cultures experience it, however, I have observed that competition and crab mentality are indeed some traits that are present in Filipino families. Many of us are familiar with phrases such as “if I can’t have it, then neither can you.”

Having this kind of attitude, I can assure you that nothing positive will arise from it and instead you will encounter the opposite. THE FILIPINO MIND-SET IN COMPETITION 6 Bauzon (1994) So many times I’ve seen Filipinos look so high at foreigners, that we as a people almost always fall head over heels towards foreign (especially American) products and foreigners themselves and sometimes to the point that we are easily tricked by them. A perfect sign of colonial mentality. But at the same time, when we as a people try to emulate other countries’ success, we criticize ourselves by saying that it’s shameful “and that we would just fail because only foreigners can do it.

Bauzon,P.T.(1994). Logic for filipinos. The truth. National Book Store, Inc.: Quad AlphaCentrum Bldg. Cinnamon, S.J.(2008). Filipino’s competition, retrieved from http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080430201303AAWnxeU Church, A.T. (1986). Filipino personality. A review of research and writings. De La SalleUniversity Press. Clemeña, R.S.(1991). Counseling psychology in the Philippines. Research and practice. De LaSalle University Press. Mercado, L.N. (1994). The Filipino mind. The Filipino values and behavior. United States ofAmerica. Stone, K. (2013). The Filipino crab mentality, retrieved fromhttp://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20131118121732AAmoLIi Wikipedia (2010). Crab mentality, retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crab_mentality Urban Dictionary (2002). Crab Mentality, retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crab_mentality

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