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Black People, Racism and Jung's Shadow Archetype

Updated on September 13, 2012

When the Shadow archetype begins to manifest in the personality as a response to the suppression of traits and desires deemed unacceptable dreams of white people often feature Black people. For Black people these dreams feature white people. White racists, polluted as they are by the Puritan Work Ethic and the consequent worship of work, worthwhile or not, tend to call Blacks lazy, shiftless, obsessed by sex and keen on pleasure and enjoyment rather than sacrifice and sober living. Such people forget that life should not be a steady and solemn procession to the grave but one should arrive with a drink in each hand, a worn out body and the desire to do it all again but better and with more intensity.

It's the Shadow

The point however is that for “respectable people”, Blacks ( and in the UK and US later the Irish, then the Italians, then the Jews then..... oh, don't forget the Poles) represent all that was sacrificed in the name of respectability and are thus a physical embodiment of the Shadow, and as such are both hated and envied, the hatred being largely generated by envy. Eventually each such group is “integrated” and becomes “respectable” as polite society smothers creativity and pleasure and is then succeeded by another out-group, usually considered as smelly. Until it is absorbed the Shadow group is rejected, in ways that sometimes seem ridiculous, like the 19th century parish priest in Glasgow who worked with the poor and was criticised by his congregation who felt that working with the poor was a task unworthy of a man of God, and in past centuries many talked of the poor in the way 18th and nineteenth century white people in the US talked of Blacks.

Whites think Blacks inferior because they enjoy life

Racists may talk of Blacks being inferior, but when analysed often this means they talk loudly, laugh a lot, enjoy music and dancing, dress in bright colours and enjoy sex, often with multiple partners, and work only when they have to, even then trying to work at what they enjoy rather than what is considered “good” work by the “respectable” people.

I should note in passing that while I have had dealing with people the “respectable” consider “low class and dishonest” It has most often been respectable people ( and businesses) that tried to cheat me and I have lost far more money dealing with “ethical” businesses, who can usually manage to make their depredations legal, or at least rely on the fact they can afford expensive lawyers, than with those who lack the approval of “good” society.

Even Whites can be Black

The Blacks however are, at least for respectable white protestants, the archetypal representation of the Shadow. In the US there have been attempts, some dignified by “scientific” analysis” to portray as the Irish, Italians and the Jews as being of Negro origin. In the recent riots in London a Professor of History said part of the reason for the riots was that “The Whites have become Black” and went on to attack “Gangsta Rap” culture. I am convinced he was expressing a deep envy of the perceived Black Lifestyle. Of course some things are impossible: It is not possible to mark Chinese out as being Black unless one goes back to the hypothetical origin of the Human race in Africa.

The Recession may make us All Black

Fortunately things may be changing. Rising unemployment in the West is forcing many to act like the hunter gatherer tribes of Africa from which Negros allegedly arose. I have read estimates that members of such tribes work on average a couple of hours a day and the rest is spent in relaxing, singing and dancing. I have seen a research paper comparing the Urban homeless with a hunter gatherer tribe, and many years ago I met a software developer who spent six months working in Europe which allowed him to spend six months doing nothing in a cheap country in the Far East. Conversely I have heard of Asians who work in low pay jobs in the UK and save to be able to spend six months in their home country living like lords.

The Wrap

The bottom line is that Black people represent the Shadow for white people and this is a large part of the origin of white resentment of Black people. The criticisms made of Black people point to the sacrifices made by white people often as a result of the unhealthy repressions of Puritanism and the Protestant work ethic. This desire to reject the freedom of the Black US Subculture is reflected in the stories the pilots of UFOS told early contactees about Mars, saying it was racially segregated with Black and Jewish Martians (dreadlocks and all) separated from the white.


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    • AlexK2009 profile image

      AlexK2009 5 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

      Thanks Aghori, I would go so far as to say most of the hatred people have for each other comes from projection, but I do not have the data to back that up.

    • AghoriShaivite profile image

      AghoriShaivite 5 years ago from

      Great article. I like how you deal with the Shadow, Trickster archetypes, the Other, etc. I do think it says a lot about humanity and people as individuals, including our habits to project our fears and misunderstandings on people that we do not understand.

    • AlexK2009 profile image

      AlexK2009 6 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

      Hi Hello,Hello: Racism is a form of the hatred of people who are different, also known as Xenophobia. It is therefore unlikely to go away.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

      A very interesting definition of racism. I personally think it more than high time for racism to die out. We supposed to improve over the dacades and centuries but I can't see it. Thank you for great hub.