An Interesting Introduction to Psychology – Identity Development

Lisa R. Parker

The 6 statuses (stages) that emerge in sequence and reflect abandonment of racism, according to the White Racial Identity Development Model (Helms) are Contact, disintegration, pseudo-independence, immersion-emersion, and autonomy. According to the White Racial Identity Development Model, people at the Contact status of identity development usually have limited contact with people of color, are oblivious to their own whiteness, and are unaware of the implications of racial differences. In the Disintegration status of the White Racial Identity Development Model, Whites experience increasing awareness of their whiteness and of racial inequalities due to increased cross-racial interactions, leading to emotional, psychological, and moral confusion. Whites resolving their conflicts by adopting the position that their race is superior and minorities inferior, all in an attempt to justify existing inequalities, characterize the Reintegration status of the White Racial Identity Development Model.

According to the White Racial Identity Development Model, Pseudo-Independence is marked by dissatisfaction with reintegration, leading Whites to re-examine their beliefs about race and racial inequalities.

Whites at the Immersion-Emersion status of the White Racial Identity Development Model embrace their whiteness without rejecting minority group members, and they explore feeling proud about their own race without being racist.

Autonomy is a status of the White Racial Identity Development Model is marked by the internalization of a non-racist White identity based on an accurate understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of White culture, as well as valuing and seeking cross-racial relationships.

The Model of Psychological Nigrescence (Cross)- nigrescence means “the process of becoming black” assumes that African-American identity development becomes more authentic as they go through the following 5 stages: pre-encounter, encounter, immersion/emersion, internalization, and internalization/commitment. During the Pre-encounter stage of the Model of Psychological Nigrescence, a person is most likely to believe integration and assimilation will solve racial problems and tend to blame African-Americans themselves for their own problems.

The Encounter stage of the Model of Psychological Nigrescence is marked by a personal or social event that temporarily dislodges the person from their worldview, making them more receptive to a new interpretation of their identity. When a person denigrates White people and culture while simultaneously deifying African-America people and culture, they are most likely in the Immersion-Emersion stage, according to the Model of Psychological Nigrescence. The Internalization stage of the Model of Psychological Nigrescence is characterized by ideological flexibility, psychological openness, and self-confidence, and involves a resolution of conflicts between old and new world views.According to the Model of Psychological Nigrescence, a person who translates their newly internalized identity into activities that are meaningful to the group, such as social and political activism, is in the Internalization-Commitment stage.

Healthy cultural paranoia is a term used to describe appropriate mistrust and suspiciousness of African-Americans and other minorities toward whites resulting from racism and oppression. In therapy, it may be a cause of nondisclosure. If a white therapist suspects their African-American client’s unwillingness to disclose is due to “healthy cultural paranoia,” the therapist should, according to Ridely, Help the client become consciously aware of their feelings about whites and identify when it is safe to self-disclose.

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