Crab Theory

The crab theory is based on the metaphor of what happens when you put several crabs together in a bucket. The crabs crawl over each other, trying to get out of the bucket, and in the process, none of them escape because they keep pulling each other back down.

This is something that many communities struggle with, including the Deaf community. For a long time, Deaf people have provided each other with a network of support and mutual understanding and commitment. They still do. However, back when it was more difficult for Deaf people to become successful due to discrimination, an invisible standard–a status quo–was established. Anyone who then stepped outside of the status quo immediately became a product of  “the crab theory.”

So, for example, if someone decided that they wanted to work somewhere other than in printing or for the post office, they were then labeled “HEARING-MINDED.” HEARING-MINDED is a sign that means “think like a person who is not like us.” That is how the crab theory goes.!

(from: https://gallaudetblog.wordpress.com/2009/07/08/what-ive-learned-at-gallaudet-crab-theory/)

  • Deaf Enterprise Survey

    "Don't be afraid to make mistakes. Making mistakes is okay and you learn most from this. Don't afraid to ask for help if something is wrong."

  • Participant Deaf Enterprise Workshop (IT)

    "The Deaf Enterprise workshop has been incredible: each one of us worked intensively on understanding the way to take to achieve our dreams; each one of us was able to express their doubts regarding talents and difficulties we might encounter.(..) Each one of us was able to contribute so as to find the key to unlock our personal journey and fulfil our dreams."

  • Deaf Enterprise Survey

    "Perseverance and guts! Develop resilience to deal with adversity as this will help you get stronger and believe in your business."

  • Ramon Woolfe (Trainer at the UCLan workshop)

    "There are plenty of opportunities for Deaf people to set up their own business not just in the traditional areas of teaching sign language and interpreting services but also in all areas of the economy from retail, to service industries such as restaurants, leisure such as a gym.

    I really would like to see more Deaf entrepreneurs showing that they can do it.

  • Deaf Enterprise Survey

    "Asking Feedback is important. Then I look back and ask different people about their experiences. What is going well? What can be done better? I often hear new things and I learn. That helps your company improve."

  • Deaf Enterprise Survey

    "I only will say: Go on! Use help from everybody, both from government and in your network. A lot of people are helpful with sharing informations and so on."

  • Ramon Woolfe (Trainer at the UCLan workshop)

    "The level of quality engagement was so great that we often would not have enough time in the day to discuss all the points the participants wanted to discuss and would often spill over into our tea break or lunchtime to continue the discussions.

    All of which shows how great the need is by Sign language users to have this direct dialogue in their own language."

  • Deaf Enterprise Survey

    "Talk to other business owners, ask them about their successes and their failures. Don't be scared to ask for help. You do not need to do it by yourself."

  • Deaf Enterprise Survey

    "Keep fighting, don’t give up!"

  • Deaf Enterprise Survey

    "I will only say: Go on! Use help from everybody, both from government and in your network. A lot of people are helpful by sharing information and so on."

  • Participant Deaf Enterprise workshop (IT)

    "It is now no longer matter of dreaming: we have discovered we have so many ideas it is a matter of putting them into practice! This workshop was an important opportunity, with many useful presentations and group discussions. I hope this same opportunity can be given to deaf individuals in other cities in Italy."

  • Deaf Enterprise Survey

    "Keep an open attitude; co-operate with other Deaf business people. Use 'we' instead of 'I'."

  • Clark Denmark (Trainer at the UCLan workshop)

    " Therefore, without Deaf role models being here it would be difficult for many Deaf participants to imagine and believe in what they could achieve."

  • Deaf Enterprise Survey

    "Go for it. Follow your dream. Keep persisting and ask lots of questions. Don’t give up. Seek advice from friends, family and look outside the box."

  • Clark Denmark (Trainer at the UCLan workshop)

    "The workshop was extremely worthwhile; especially when one considers there has been nothing of its type in the UK before."

  • Participant Deaf Enterprise Workshop (IT)

    "It has been amazing, I am really satisfied because I have learned so much during these days and I think I have looked into myself and found very interesting insight which will be useful for my life. I believe this is the same as all other participants feel."

  • Deaf Enterprise Survey

    "Most of all, be passionate! Know and love your subject well!"

  • Clark Denmark (Trainer at UCLan workshop)

    "In the past Deaf people have had to travel many miles to find a course which is then predominantly hearing people and hearing led. This has made participation and involvement very problematic for Deaf people who have said comments such as: “I didn’t understand what the trainer was saying.” Also, “I found it difficult to mix with others in the group.”

  • Deaf Enterprise Survey

    "Don't be afraid to make mistakes. Making mistakes is okay and you learn most from this. Don't afraid to ask for help if it's something wrong."

  • Ramon Woolfe (Trainer at the UCLan workshop)

    "By the end of the workshop they all displayed a renewed confidence to be able to go home and act upon their aim of setting up their business idea."

  • Deaf Enterprise Survey

    "You can do anything if you put your mind to it. Your deafness does not define your business skills. You are thinking with your brain, not your ears."

  • Jakob Gade (DK)

    "The best way to create more jobs for deaf people? More businesses run by deaf entrepreneurs!"

  • Deaf Enterprise Survey

    "Try it, nothing to lose."

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