Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Cross-Cultural School Psychology

pp 165-167


Black Racial Identity Development

  • Celeste OwensAffiliated withSchool of Medicine, Center for School Mental Health, Department of Psychiatry, University of Maryland

The Nigrescence model (or the Black Racial Identity model) was introduced by William Cross Jr. in 1971. Nigrescence, a French word meaning “the process of becoming Black,” outlines five stages that Blacks or African Americans typically follow in a journey toward an integrated racial identity. Since its inception, Nigrescence theory has evolved from one that outlined stages (now called statuses) of identity change as they related to the Black Power Movement to a theory that includes six other levels of Nigrescence. This perspective accounts for a full spectrum of Black identities and highlights the within-group variance of a diverse people. While this theory was designed to outline the racial identity development of adults, it also has relevance for African American youth as they approach adolescence and adulthood.

The Nigrescence Theory

The five stage model purported to outline the experience of racial identity conversion in African American adults and consisted of ...

This is an excerpt from the content