5 Stages of African American Identity
Cross relates the transition of the Black identity through a five-stage theory of acquisition of Black identification. He called this theory Nigrescence, which is translated as: “the process of becoming Black.” The five stages progress as follows:
According to Cross, people of color are socialized to perceive an unracialized reference frame, and are thus resistant to any information that threatens this unracial perspective. The final stage of the identity transition, internalization-commitment
Throughout one’s life one may revisit different stages and repeat steps of this process and reformulate their racial identity and opinions. Repeating stages is not a regression but often a part of greater process of integrating new information and reevaluating ideas from a more mature standpoint.