Black Leadership Analysis

This is an unofficial Spiral Dynamics blog. It is not endorsed by D. Beck PhD.



Rhetoric of Conflict and Compromise Series

Photo above was taken in November 1864 in Dutch Gap Canal, VA

Rhetoric of Conflict and Compromise

Critique of Rhetoric and Compromise

Rhetoric of Conflict and Compromise

Buy the book HERE

Critique of Rhetoric and Compromise

Buy the book HERE


Knights of the Golden Circle / Southern Filibusters

Alexandria VA’s Knights of the Golden Circle

History of Filibusters

William Walker American Filibusters

William Walker King of the Filibusters

Lincoln Fought the Spread of Slavery to Latin America

Civil War Times Article

Knights of the Golden Circle Book Summary

John Bell

Constitutional Unionist Party

Short Bio

Speech in Philadelphia

Stephen Douglas

Short Biography



Northern Democratic Party

John Breckinridge

Breckinridge speech 1860

Breckinridge Democratic Platform

Breckinridge Biography

The Man Who Came in Second


Election of 1860

Election of 1860

Election 1860

Slavery poll modern day


Dr. Blight Civil War Lecture Playlist

Pre-Civil War Videos

My Story of Nigrescence: Encounter Part 1

I have recently discovered the psychological theory of Nigrescence. The theory gives a natural progression of how individuals grow to embrace their ethnicity. It also details many pitfalls one can fall in while discovering who they are.

There are five stages in the theory of Nigrescence.

  1. Pre-encounter: A time early in life when one does not use their ethnicity to create a worldview. It can also be used to describe people that purposefully neglect how their ethnicity shapes their worldview.
  2. Encounter: An event or series of events that create psychological discomfort that leads one to modify worldview
  3. Emersion: Individual rebel against mainstream culture and surround themselves with the new ethnic culture
  4. Internalisation: Individual moves past rebellion and can re-enter society with ethnic consciousness. The individual will no longer separate themselves yet interact with people of all backgrounds
  5. Commitment: Individuals have an authentic commitment to their ethnic struggle. Most of their time is used building a better world

This blog post will cover the time I spent in Encounter


I had always had a hard time making friends and building relationships. Alot of my stumbling blocks involving relationships involved suffering from depression. To cure my depression I used many methods simultaneously. I began meditating which led to learning Buddhism. In addition, I began to study psychology which eventually led to studying Spiral Dynamics.

So the biggest problem I had in relationships was depth. I knew alot of people but I had no one I really could share intimate experiences with. I could find someone to eat dinner with or going to the movies with, but no one to call when I was really down.

One example of what the trouble I was having was my relationship with Marvin. Marvin is a Jewish guy I met at a Buddhist Temple. He was really gregarious and we always talked after service. I never thought we could really be friends. He was about twenty years older than me and about to retire. I figured we would have very little in common. However, I did find him to be interesting so I decided to do second body practice with him. For those that are not Buddhist, second body practice consist of meeting out in public and talking about how Buddhism affects out life. I usually last about an hour a week for a month and a half.

Over our sessions we got to know alot about each other. He told me alot about his job and how he was glad to retire. I told him about fighting my depression and how I was working to build relationships. I think we really provided each other good advice. Over the session we got really close. He would then invite me to different events over the years.

I was always careful never to talk about race to people that are not black. However, over the course of our talks the subject would come up. I mean my ethnicity is the a large part of my experience. Sometimes I would go into it without even realizing it. Then Marvin would comment and it would normally offend me. He would always say I was above race and should no longer thing about it. In his mind, I very well could have surpassed race. However, to the rest of the world I had not.

Well Marvin called me to hang out with him. He knew I liked dancing and decided to take me to this modern dance recital. He spent a lot of time complaining that his wife never wants to go and hang out with any of his friends. His wife was from the Phillipines and spoke broken English. It was obvious why she would feel uncomfortable hanging out with professors that Marvin was taking classes from. Yet, I sat and listened to make sure he knew I cared.

That night I did not say much. I had just started my blog Black Leadership Analysis. I was really hyped because the third article I wrote got 100 views in a day. He kept asking me what I was up to. So I finally told him about the blog.

His reaction was very telling. He goes on this long diatribe about how I shouldn’t worry about race and I should only worry about my personal advancement. He went on to say worrying about teaching black people is a waste of time. He felt generally black people were unintelligent and not much can be done about it. Needless to say I never spoke to him again.

Now I don’t believe Marvin to be malicious. I see him as a natural product of a spiritual community that bypasses race. If we don’t have a method to discuss and work through race in a constructive manner, we will get people like Marvin. Marvin did not hate people of other ethnicities, he actually made an effort to be around people that were not Jewish. Yet, his meager understanding of ethnicity kept him from having empathy and listening. It also kept him from questioning his preconceptions.

This story is not unique to my experiences in new age spiritual communities. I always censored myself to seem raceless. Not because I was ashamed of who I was, but because I knew most in the community would be insensitive. This led to me just being in their space not making the space ours. I would come, smile, nod, but never really achieve a level of intimacy. My lack of intimacy caused the discomfort that made me move to the next phase.

Ethnic Identity Development Series (Nigrescence)

Ethnic Identity Development (Nigrescence)

The Evolution of Ethnic Identity Development

The Evolution of Ethnic Identity Development

View entire series HERE

Ethnic Identity Development


William E. Cross Ph.D


  • President of Pi Lambda Phi fraternity Alpha Chapter
  • PhD from Princeton
  • Helped to found the American Association of Black Psychologist in 1968
  • Assistant Chair of African American Studies at Princeton in 1969
  • Professor at Cornell 1973 – 1994
  • Penn State University professor 1994 –
  • President Elect of Division 45
  • Married 40 years
  • 2014 APA Presidential Citation

Personal Worldview

Cross humbly approaches black psychology. Black people in America existed 350 years before psychology and thrived. Psychologists should approach the community in hopes of learning from them and not teaching or dictating.

He also doesn’t approach black psychology from the avenue of oppression only. He also doesn’t want to portray European culture as only anti-black. There are many aspects of European culture that are anti-black and those aspects must be isolated and removed. However, black people cannot be afraid to learn from all cultures. He describes his own worldview as Afrocentric informed, but ultimately multicultural.

Being his own worldview is multicultural, he scolds those who believe there is one way to be black. He has meet happy well adjusted black people that have an assimilated, Afrocentric, bicultural, and multicultural view. Attempts to mandate one black worldview did not work. The only worldview that is detrimental is one in which blackness is accepted, but not used to inform decisions and ideological stances. An example of this would be Clarence Thomas, a man that knows he is black yet sees no responsibility in making life better for other black people.

Ethnic Identity Development is proposed as a way to re-order one’s worldview with new information and fight against self-hate. An example of the process of building a healthy black worldview would be W.E.B. DuBois. DuBois grew up in the whitest conditions possible and then discovered his blackness in college at Fisk. When he reflected on his experience, he concluded that he must dedicate his life to creating a better life for his people.

Ethnic Identity Development

The goal of his work is to expand psychology’s view of blackness as more than a pathology. Also, expand what defines a healthy identity. At the time Cross published his work psychologists wondered how identity affects self-esteem and if certain identities make a person have higher self-esteem, since many of the subjects saw blackness as something making their life harder and separating themselves from others. The fact that the identity of blackness separated people and made them less happy caused blackness to be seen as a pathology. Cross’s work shows healthy self-esteem as a willingness to identify with a group of people and help in their struggles for self-improvement. Whether a person is happy or wants to interact with others at all times has more to do with upbringing and more than likely will not change.

Cross purposes a five-stage model for Ethnic Identity Development. The stages are:

  1. Pre-Encounter
  2. Encounter
  3. Immersion /Emerson
  4. Internalization
  5. Internalization – Commitment

In the pre-encounter phase a person is unaware that they have the identity. People are in this stage at early childhood and pre-adolescents. Then there is an encounter phase in which a trauma happens that forces a person to recognize their identity. Immersion is the next phase when a person obsesses and personifies all the trappings of their identity and puts down other identities. In immersion black people will challenge other black people on their blackness and put down what they see as white culture. After a person spends enough time fighting all other identities to create their own they internalize the identity. Internalization allows a person to interact and respect people from their own group and other groups. The highest for of ethnic identity is internalization- commitment . At the Commitment stage a person works to help their community become empowered regardless of their personal feelings about the identity.


  1. Pi Lamda Phi About page

2. Dr. William Cross Jr. Exemplifies Inclusive Excellence by J. Davies

3. William Cross

4. William Cross

5. “Validating the Cross Racial Identity Scale” By Vandiver, Worrel, Fhagen-Smith, and Cross in Journal of Counseling Psychology

6.”The Psychology of Nigrescence” by Cross in Handbook of Psychology

7. Cross, William E. (1991) Shades of Black; Diversity in African-American Identity Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press

8. “Cross’s Nigrescence Model: From Scale to Theory” in Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development

9. “William. E. Cross, Jr. PhD Awarded 2014 APA Presidential Citation on


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