Crabs in a Barrel Syndrome: Will it ever end?
Haters. Do you know some people who just can’t celebrate when someone else is doing a good thing? People who don’t want to see anyone else be celebrated for their good deeds, or even for just looking good? Well, here’s a “McCloudism” from my book, Living Well: “When you do your thing, remember…you will have “haters”; but never let people get you off track. Sometimes even family members will become jealous and try to derail your efforts and destroy your spirit. But no matter what obstacles come against you, you can make it if you treat people right, stay focused on your goal and stay true to yourself and your God.”
On a social network board (which I’m sure I’ll exit this summer), I recently saw a post from a new author in which she was asking about “haters.” Apparently she had received some negativity about her upcoming book, or perhaps other things she’s doing or saying. Even though I’ve never met the woman personally, we have been in regular communication because the theme of her book, Black Woman Redefined is, in many ways, similar to that of mine, Living Well, Despite Catchin’ Hell; (the “hell” is what I call “psycho-social stressors,” some, listed below).
Each of our books addresses the negative media images of Black women in our society and the social challenges many Black women face, some due to their own deeds.
As a physician (an obstetrician-gynecologist), I add to that conversation by presenting how such negative imagery, low marriage statistics, social rejection, often disrespect, and the educational/work inequity with many Black men; plus already-present medical challenges, including the risk of HIV/AIDS, “down-low” men, and more can (and mostly does) have a negative effect on our physical health. In Nelson’s book, she reportedly features Black women whose names you know from politics and the media; in mine, I give voice and visibility to some highly-accomplished sisters of whom you may not have heard. In her first email reply to me last fall, she expressed our “synergy”; I agreed, and together we celebrate.
When I first joined that same social network, I asked another Black female physician (and author) who does national TV segments if she’d be kind enough to simply post word of my new book on her page, for it is the first Black women’s health book written by a physician in eight years, and no one else really gives voice to Black women’s specific health concerns and challenges. Plus, I have great endorsements, from the medical, psychological, educational and celebrity world (the foreword is by Pauletta Washington, the beautiful wife of Academy Award winner, Denzel Washington). My colleague’s reply: “Congratulations on your book.” Poof. That was it.
Some people just don’t want to see others succeed, or they feel threatened if a little light shines on someone else, even for a minute. This has been a well-known “syndrome” in the Black community, but is said to exist in lawyers, even preachers. It may in fact, just be human nature. But it doesn’t have to be. As I mention in Living Well, do your thing; do it well. Your light will shine, and we can celebrate you. When it’s someone else’s turn, celebrate them. This is America; there is plenty room at life’s table for everyone to get their slice. As people, as a race, as women…we don’t have to compete, we can complement…and ain’t that a good thing?
Copyright © 2011 Dr. Melody T. McCloud