African American Shadow: Fighting with Carl Jung
I am an African American who converted to the Jewish religion in 1995 and became a citizen of Israel in 1996. I served in both the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and United States Army.
Although I am an attorney who graduated from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law (now UC Law San Francisco), I am sometimes plagued by a deep rooted, psychological phenomenon known as “urban gangster mentality”.
As I sat in a law school lecture by Professor Eileen Scallen, I felt an overwhelming uprush of psychological black rage erupting deep within my unconscious mind.
As Professor Scallen discussed the rules of legal evidence, my archaic inner child was screaming in pain, suffering from both childhood black-on-black abuse and white racial oppression. My inner world seemed unconnected to the law school lecture.
This explosive black rage originated in what Sigmund Freud described as the psychoanalytic “Id” realm of my personality. As this explosion of black rage entered my conscious mind, it psychosocially manifested itself as “urban gangster mentality”.
As I sat in law school class, I felt as though a dark shadow of white-on-black oppression swirled like a tormenting tornado of white racial dominance in my wounded, fragmented psyche.
I felt a mental nuclear bomb exploding throughout both my unconscious mind and conscious mind while mental chains of slavery and colonialism burst from my wrists and ankles unleashing exhilarating psychosocial thrusts towards freedom, humanity, and healing. My inner child was freeing himself from layers of tortured oppression and abuse.
I left Professor Scallen’s law school class and walked to my law school dormitory in McAllister Tower near city hall in San Francisco. I then deeply gazed at myself in the bathroom mirror where I was confronted by the existence of my own Jungian psychological “shadow”.
Carl Jung’s idea of the shadow refers to the unconscious aspects of my personality that I tend to repress or deny because they are deemed unacceptable or negative by society or myself. My shadow includes repressed emotions, fears, impulses, or desires that are in conflict with my conscious sense of self or my ego.
According to Jung, my shadow is an essential aspect of my human psyche, and my shadow sometimes manifests as projection, where I project my negative traits onto others.
Jung believed that to fully integrate my shadow into my conscious self, I need to acknowledge and accept its existence and bring it to light. By doing so, I can gain a greater sense of wholeness and self-awareness.
Carl Jung also believed that my psychological shadow can be both destructive and transformative. When my shadow is denied and repressed, it can lead to negative behavior or even mental illness. However, if I face and integrate my shadow, it can provide me with a greater understanding of myself and my relationships with others.
After I graduated from UC Hastings College of the Law and entered psychotherapy in Israel, I had this recurring dream:
Carl Jung, the white Swiss psychological thinker, appears opposite me in a boxing ring. Like Muhammad Ali or Mike Tyson, I launch into a brutal, aggressive boxing match with Carl Jung. Suddenly, Jung hits me in the face with his left hand, knocking me to the ground. I instantly leap to my feet and beat Jung in his face with my right and left fists. Bloody and exhausted, Carl Jung falls to the ground unconscious. I have knocked Jung out, defeating him, winning this championship of my unconscious mind.
These profound and powerful dreams symbolize my victory over white racial supremacy. white racial oppression, and internalized racism. These dreams also represent my ongoing process of integrating my “shadow” by controlling and redirecting archaic violent impulses and black rage into constructive, self-empowering activities.
In my life, I have fulfilled many psychosocial roles. I have been a student, a lawyer, and a soldier. However, perhaps my most important actions in life were my dreamlike boxing matches with Carl Jung. The bloody battles with Jung symbolize my battle with myself, including my unconscious mind.
In essence, I now accept that my “shadow” in an integral part of my psyche, and my explosive black rage has been transformed into harmony, love, inner peace, and personal power.
I would like to thank the following UC Hastings College of the Law professors for empowering me to free myself from the shackles of oppression: Professor David Levine, Professor Marsha Cohen, Professor George Bisharat, Professor Mary Kay Kane, Professor John Diamond, Professor Eileen Scallen, Chancellor and Dean David Faigman, Professor C. Keith Wingate, and Professor Stefan A. Riesenfeld.
This essay is part of a series of psychological articles titled “Deeper Than Sigmund Freud” I am publishing in “The Blogs” of “The Times of Israel”.