Bucket of Filipino Crabs

One of the biggest faults that plague the filipino community is Crab Mentality. Simply the selfish act of personal greed without regard for the greater good of the people.


A story very familiar in my culture is the Philippine crab story and from what I remember it goes something like this:

There were two fisherman with buckets of crabs and one fisherman said to the other that you should cover your bucket or the crabs will get out. The other fisherman told him not to worry because they're Filipino crabs and they'll keep pulling each other down.

This story Like a bucket of crabs pulling each other down to get to the top. A frenzy of confusion and ignorant to the fact that if they don't work together they may never get out of the bucket. This best describes the ugliness of Crab Mentality. The only concern now is to satisfy the selfish need to be on top and push and pull the other crabs down.

Obviously this story implies a metaphor of selfishness and sabotage without reasoning for a better solution to the problem. A situation that has plagued many communities in their struggles to get ahead. We can use this story to reflect upon is similar situations concerning the advancement of our culture as we live in American and contribute as Filipino-American citizens.
Table of Contents

What have we learned?

So what should I do with all this newfound knowledge? Originally, I was a confused Filipino kid looking for my Filipino American identify. In the search I found a collection of fascinating stories of perseverance, integrity and humor. Beneficial lessons of moral values in principles and ethics. 

In the early years we have identified the adverse effects of colonialism and can recognize the divide and conquer tactic used to manipulate the indigenous people against each other. We've seen how Colonialism robbed indigenous cultures of their ability to evolve into sovereign countries. That same method of manipulation can be seen at the sugar plantations of Hawaii by the plantation owners recruiting new workers and segregating camps to undermine current workers asking for higher wages.

Pablo Manlapit was a sakada that became a lawyer to lead filipino laborers to strike. His education was his credibility that demanded respect and on the other hand the lack of education worked against the Visayan strikers as no one would take them seriously in their efforts to strike. The problem was communications and mistrust of different dialects. I believe if communication was not a problem Pablo Manlapit would have been more successful.

The pursuit of love can drive any man or woman to do irrational things. It's in our human nature to love and expect to be loved in return. The Anti-Miscegenation Law is a good example of attempting to suppress that emotion. An emotion that cannot be repressed by any law.

The natural law of fairness overcomes the power of greed. The 5-year long Delano Grape Strike led by Larry Itliong, Phillip Vera Cruz, Pete Velasco and eventually Cesar Chavez is a good example of perseverance. Even though the Filipino leaders were over shadowed by Cesar Chavez the truth always comes out and eventually credit to the Filipino manong leaders involvement in the labor strike were finally recognized.

Heartwarming memories we share from mama's home cooking to her unique disciplinary techniques that scared us when we were young and lovingly laugh at today. Family heritage we cherish and love to share with others. Our history are events of the past and our heritage defines our Filipino-American identity to others. Our Filipino forefathers came to this country because they believed in the American dream. They came to contribute and not to take advantage. They came to become Americans.