Nigrescence Theory from 1971 to 2021: Contributions of W.E. Cross, Jr.

Identity is a crucial concept in psychology, encompassing our self-perception, group affiliations, and how others perceive us. William E. Cross, Jr. has dedicated 50 years to studying Black identity, contributing to our understanding of its nature and impact. His nigrescence model, developed in 1971 and revised in 1991 and 2001, evolved into a multidimensional attitudinal model. Cross’ work also influenced the measurement of racial identity, with widely used scales like the Racial Identity Attitude Scale and the Cross Racial Identity Scale. His contributions have reshaped the conceptualization of racial identity and challenged deficit views, emphasizing the potential for positive Black identities even in challenging circumstances.

Image courtesy of interviewee. December 8, 2023

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