Gatekeepers: The good and the bad

The recent outcry by a lot of people on social media saying the recent influx of Nigerians in the United Kingdom has begun to flood the country made me start thinking about the concept and culture of gatekeepers.

Who is a Gatekeeper?

A gatekeeper is anyone who determines how someone or a group of people have access to something or someone, they decide who comes in and who goes out, they can limit or give you free rein and they’re very critical to the growth and building of every community. Gatekeepers are powerful because they transition their influence to the person, idea, or product they are endorsing or rejecting.

A gatekeeper is an indigenous member of any community who has either formal or informal influence on the culture. These gatekeepers are individuals who everyone can count on either to get things done or not and the only way new people, ideas, or products can successfully enter an existing community is when they are introduced and endorsed by a viable gatekeeper. 

Gatekeepers are prevalent and present in every society and their presence is felt in every sector of life, there are no small or big positions as whatever role they play is significant, and depending on this role they can either be seen positively or negatively. Depending on their position, they can serve as the personal assistant of someone whose favor you need, or serve as the key to securing your next contract or job.

Gatekeepers: The good and the bad

Therefore, when I think about the recent outcry of the people saying Nigerians are flooding the UK I think about their hypocrisy and the audacity of it all. Nigerians have been traveling to the United Kingdom for as long as it was possible and the generations before now have never had a reason to complain about this influx, yet the people who are there now feel others shouldn’t come, others feel the people traveling to the UK or seeking to go there are of the lower standard either because of class and prestige and will definitely be going there to commit crimes, whatever your reasons are they do not hold water and it’s giving the crab mentality.

Crab mentality is a phenomenon where people react negatively towards others, in relation to their thoughts, statements, or actions.

They react this way to those who get ahead of them or are trying to attain the positions where they are. For example, crab mentality can cause someone to discourage or sabotage their friend from starting something new or exploring some other venture just because they’re struggling with something or do not want others to be ahead of them or on the same level.

However, the reverse is the case for Indians. In any country where you find an Indian citizen thriving and doing significantly well, they begin to find ways to create more opportunities for other Indians so that they can also benefit and eat the good of the land and I believe that this is a behavior everyone can learn from… that when you do get in, when you shatter that glass ceiling you do not shut the door behind you but pay it forward by bringing others in.

How not to be a Negative Gatekeeper

  1. First Lady Michelle Obama said it best, “When you’ve worked hard, and done well, and walked through that doorway of opportunity, you do not slam it shut behind you. No, you reach back, and you give other folks the same chances that helped you succeed”. In other words, pay it forward.
  2. Be willing to share opportunities, especially with your close circle of friends and family.
  3. Be willing to help and point people in the right direction. Always.
  4. Share your story and be truthful about it. No sugar coating it.

In the end, I believe that one of the ways this narrative can be changed is when we begin to see every opportunity we have as a way to let others in and not shut them out and this can be done when we all become positive gatekeepers as they are essential for the diffusion of ideas, products, or people to penetrate into an old or new. community

What kind of Gatekeeper are you?

If you made it to the end of this post, don’t forget to leave me a comment and check out my previous post titled “Navigating life in Sweden” here and listen to episodes from my podcast here.

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1 year ago

Good read, insightful.

Abisola Adegunju
Abisola Adegunju
1 year ago

Interesting read! I definitely know someone with a crab mentality. Many Nigerians are gatekeepers and I still can’t figure out why they don’t want other people to excel.

Adeyemi Oke
1 year ago

Really good article. I liked your take on gatekeepers.
I’ve also read a lot about the terms crabs in a bucket, and I hope that the more people become aware if this mentality we can remove it from our community


[…] me a comment and check out my previous post titled “Gatekeepers: The good and the bad” here and listen to episodes from my […]

1 year ago

I totally agree with you Yinka, people need to learn to give other folks the same chances that helped them to succeed.


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