Just as the coloured man lives in your cities and even within your houses, so also he lives under your skin, subconsciously. Naturally it works both ways. Just as every Jew has a Christ complex, so every Negro has a white complex and every American (white) a Negro complex.
- C.G. Jung Collected Works, Vol. 10, para 963.As we encounter the issue of race and therefore racism, witnessing the constellation of cultural complexes in actions of racial violence, marching protests and global engagement, it appears important to visit the Jungian concept of psychological complexes. Jung’s early work on the “color”complex, what I have named the racial complex, has with few exceptions, not been reviewed and investigated for almost one hundred years. It appears that Jung’s early attempt to define ethnicity and culture within the context of a racial complex, had the hallmark of 19th-century colonial-influenced thinking. As we work within a 21st-century consciousness, we are required to deconstruct psychological theories that are relevant to Jungian psychology. Our work together allows us to question, inquire of and re-define both the interior unconscious space of complexes and the exterior relationship with “Other”, in deepening our understanding of racial relationships.
Dr. Fanny Brewster, Ph.D., M.F.A., is a Jungian analyst and Professor at Pacifica Graduate Institute in the Integrative Therapy and Healing Practices Department. She is the author of African Americans and Jungian Psychology: Leaving the Shadows, Archetypal Grief: Slavery’s Legacy of Intergenerational Child Loss, and The Racial Complex: A Jungian Perspective on Culture and Race. Dr. Brewster is an international lecturer and workshop presenter on Jungian related topics, African American Culture and Creativity. She is a faculty member at the New York C.G. Jung Foundation and is a member analyst with the Philadelphia Association of Jungian Analysts.
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