Essay Nigrescence Model of Racial Identity Development

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In 1971, William E. Cross, Jr., Ph.D., a Black psychologist and prominent researcher (specializing in Black psychology) developed a framework for assessing how black Americans come to understand what it means to be Black. Dr. Cross introduced his ideologies as the “Nigrescence Model of Racial Identity Development“. He asserts that every black American must undergo a series of identity stages to develop a healthy and balanced understanding of the Black experience and become well-rounded in our global society. This model encompasses five stages of identity development, which Dr. Cross emphasizes, must be performed in order to successfully accomplish this goal.

The first stage of Black racial identity development refers to the
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They often exude great admiration for the White culture and its morals, virtues, and values; while despising the Black culture.

The second stage of Black racial identity development refers to the encounter stage. This depicts the juncture in life when a black American experiences a traumatic event/circumstance that causes him/her to reconsider their overall beliefs on racism. Dr. Cross asserts that this event/circumstance usually heightens an individual’s racial awareness and additionally, triggers major conflicts with their earlier viewpoints under the pre-encounter context. This causes one to reassess his/her own identity and develop an awareness of the Black experience.

The third stage of Black racial identity development refers to the immersion stage. This depicts the juncture in life when a black American’s viewpoints transform from the pre-encounter stage to a phase of enlightenment. These people have a broader awareness of the Black experience and embraces the Black culture, and its morals, virtues, and values. They take pride in the Black race and find beauty and perfection in Blackness. Dr. Cross asserts this phase to be similar to a religious conversion. Individuals within this stage usually focus on “all things Black”. They express rage and hostility towards the White race and reject its culture, while glorifying their
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