To comment on the above article, Why So Few Blacks in the Dream Movement? I
would have to suggest that the title itself is misleading.
First, Shafton assumes I think that the dream movement is centered around
ASD, and around whites, but even this is fallacious thinking.
In terms of individuals interested in dreams and dreamwork I don't see that
the broad categories, black and white, apply. Among those of African origin
I have known as a Berkeley, California dreamworker in the sixties, seventies
and eighties, conducting as many as seven dream groups a week, I never found
that being of African origin made a difference, or united all of African
origin in any way. Nor did I find that among the whites I worked with that
there was anything universal in being of lighter skin color.
So, trying to put millions of people into the general categories of black
and white, and drawing conclusions, such as in this article, does not work
for me in my experience or in my ability to think through issues. Let me
I have had people of African genetic origin in my dream groups. But also of
Spanish genetic origin, Mexican genetic origin, Jewish genetic origin,
Catholic, Chiristian, non-religious, wealthy, poor and so on. I have had
women in my dream groups, and men. I have had homosexuals and lesbians and
non-sexuals in my dream groups. I have had students and professionals and
family people, mothers, housewives and so on.
Am I then to ask why there are not more mothers in my dream groups, or
homosexuals, and so on? Each of these sub-groups are minorities when placed
in opposition to the rest of the members called dream group members.
Categorizing blacks and whites, Jews and gentiles and so on, I consider a
form of prejudice. For the categories do not hold and therefore are based on
labeling others, a subjective way of viewing people.
So if I viewed by numbers blacks and whites in my dream groups then I would
see far fewer blacks in the groups. But the same would happen if I saw the
two categories as homosexuals versus non-homosexuals. Why are there not more
homosexuals in the dreamwork movement than there are? What a wonderful
speculation. Not really.
My fundamental position has always been to see people as persons. I of
course looked for cultural differences but I did not find any of these
influences as clearly definable or crucial.
I have had whites who have had murdered family members and blacks who have
had murdered family members. Many have not had murdered family members. A
number of dream group members have been raped, as well as suffered other
types of violence. All have wanted and needed help in how to problem-solve
Using the method, Following the Dream Ego, it is fairly easy to see that in
many people's dreams they are not effective as problem solvers so this is
one area we focus on. If your racial or cultural influence is important to
you in terms of self-identity, then we deal with this as it shows up in
In this objective and functional approach we use the dream as the primary
focus. We problem-solve. We look at the conflicts and inadequacies in the
dreams and work at new ways and solutions for handling these problems which
apply to dream life and to waking life.
We don't worry about cultural or racial issues. We deal with the problem.
I would be far more concerned about the different approaches to doing
dreamwork with the dream. I have just stated that one strong emphasis in
doing the functional approach to dreamwork is teaching problem-solving. What
then are other dreamworkers teaching in relating to dreams? I don't know,
frankly, and would like to.
Sticking to our focus on dreams seems the best. Why create problems
impossible to solve?
Strephon Kaplan-Williams had his Jungian-Senoi Dreamwork Institute in
Berkeley, California from 1977 to 1988. This area was a multi-cultural
environment. The experiences of his students have been written up by him in
the Jungian-Senoi Dreamwork Manual and in the later Dreamworking - A
Comprehensive Guide to Working with Dreams.