Episode 87 – The Racial Complex with Dr. Fanny Brewster

Nov 28, 2019


Dr. Fanny Brewster, Jungian Analyst, colleague and friend, joins This Jungian Life to discuss her forthcoming book, The Racial Complex: A Jungian Perspective on Culture and Race. Complexes tend to operate autonomously and unconsciously, have strong feeling-tones, and contain archetypal fuel. The racial complex, a complicated mix of color, class and culture, operates individually and collectively and in multiple ways. Although shadow projection and “othering” are intrinsic to the racial complex, America’s history of slavery further intensifies it. Like other complexes, the racial complex cannot be either denied or defeated—it can, however, be lifted into consciousness. As with any complex, learning, discussion and self-reflection can expand awareness, connection and compassion. 


“The scene begins with me driving my car to a hotel. I park up in a space near the entrance and go inside. After I have looked around a bit I look out of the large window to see that I have left my dog, a brown Labrador, tied to the car. As it is a grey day the dog is laying down underneath lest it rain. A white woman in her 40s with curly hair appears along with two burly white bald men. The woman squats over the car and urinates onto the dog. I am furious and rush outside to rescue the dog, but the two men get in the way, manhandling me roughly. I know they are bigger than me and that I am outnumbered but I fight for my dog as I suddenly wake up.” 

References (books available on Amazon) 

Brewster, Fanny. The Racial Complex: A Jungian Perspective on Culture and Race (as of 11-21-19).

Brewster, Fanny. Archetypal Grief: Slavery’s Legacy of Intergenerational Child Loss. 

Brewster, Fanny. African Americans and Jungian Psychology: Leaving the Shadows.

Adams, Michael. The Multicultural Imagination: “Race”, Color and the Unconscious (Opening Out). 

Singer, Tom and Samuel L. Kimbles. The Cultural Complex.

DiAngelo, Robin. White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People To Talk About Racism. 

Film: Get Out

#ThisJungianLife #AnalyticalPsychology #JungianAnalysis #Archetype

Check out this episode!


  1. Marina

    I found the podcast very intresting especially the racial complex. I found The openess of the discussion very rewarding. In fact I stopped paused and visualised on points that resonated within me which has stimulated a few questions.

  2. Karen

    Deb: We haven’t had 400 years of slavery. The first slaves were transported to the east coast of the US in 1619, though the slave trade was most active in the 1700s. The Civil War ended in 1865. At most, that’s 246 years of slavery.

    I usually love your episodes, but comments like this made this a bit one-sided. I grew up in a town much like the one you described as your childhood home, and basically knew nothing about African Americans when I moved to New Orleans many years ago. But the constant barrage of black-on-black shootings over decades have had a negative effect on the color-blind image I once held. The current politics doesn’t permit mention of such things: e.g., the recent 11-victim slaughter on a crowded street downtown was covered nationally, but the race of those involved was not mentioned. It’s one of those things you have to read between the lines. If we’re going to discuss a racial complex, I think we can’t leave out huge disparities of this sort. It’s deliberately sticking one’s head in the sand, self-censure, and is beneath of level of Jungian analysis. (I was in analysis for a decade, and it changed my life.) Interestingly, I didn’t feel much of the one-sidedness was coming from Fanny, who simply said we all have racial complexes, some, presumably, being positive and some negative. But her story of being rejected by taxi drivers didn’t consider that stories of shootings might affect the refusal of drivers to pick her up. I am sending this as just another viewpoint, after many years in one of the most violent cities in the US.

  3. Diana

    Now is 8 months later and this is even more timely. These comments were helpful for me but I have stumbled into the anger of others in trying to be a conscious ally. Some people even object to that word. Have done a bit of heavy work on white privilege but also always from the place of white shame. I have recently encountered the idea that if a person feels “less than” in self regard, there is an impossibility of being able to really assist another. Thank you for this key.


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