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- 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
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:
- Immersion /Emerson
- 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.
- Pi Lamda Phi About page https://www.pilambdaphi.org/about/
2. Dr. William Cross Jr. Exemplifies Inclusive Excellence by J. Davies http://www.morgridge.du.edu
3. William Cross http://www.gc.cuny.edu
4. William Cross http://www.psychology.iresearchnet.com
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 http://www.apa.org
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What is Rebirth?
The concept of rebirth is the Buddhist alternative to the belief in reincarnation or the afterlife. Here reincarnation is defined as a Hindu concept that a metaphysical part of a person is eternal (soul) and will reinhabit another physical body. The belief in an afterlife is common in the Abrahamic religions is the soul will be sent to a paradise because of good deeds or beliefs. Neither of these concepts is in Buddhism as explained by the religious scholar Ambedkar.
The Buddhist concept of rebirth has to do with the ever-changing nature of matter and ideas. When a person dies, his body breaks down into its original elements (earth, fire, wind, water) and re-enters the universe to reappear as another person eventually. The process is never-ending and is happening every time someone consumes food or loses skin cells. It is also occurring as a person interacts with the world. As a person does good deeds, it increases the chances of others copying. The same is true for unwholesome deeds. So Buddhist rebirth is a never-ending process with one aspect being the physical death of the body.
The story of B.B. King and Big K.R.I.T.
In 1956, a brand new musician Roy King was about to release an album. Riley’s nickname Blues Boy or B.B. King was featured prominently on the album cover, but one thing is missing, B.B.’s photo. Mr. King asked about the apparent mistake and the record executives said, there was no mistake. We believe that the record could have cross-over appeal if the customer didn’t realize you were black.
Fast forward to 1986, and a middle-aged fan of the seasoned Blues Boy buys his newest record. Before she got to the counter, she saw a poster of B.B. King’s show in Paris. She decided to get the poster also. She rushed to get back to her house to welcome her daughter and new grandson. The original poster was a welcomed addition and pleased both the new grandmother and mother.
The boy was named Justin Scott and he grew up in a house with much love and music. B.B. King had more than solidified himself as the greatest musician that Mississippi ever produced. His music was an inspiration for Justin. He also grew to love many of the Hip Hop artist of his own generation. In an attempt to fuse the two genres, a new style and flavor of hip-hop was created. Justin decided to start performing under the pseudonym King Remembered in Time, K.R.I.T. It was both an assertion of how great he was and a nod to his hero B.B. King.
B.B. King briefly spoke on Hip-Hop in a 1996 interview. He said he didn’t like the gratuitous cursing or pornographic references to sex. However, he also didn’t like vulgar movies or artwork. King also acknowledged his parents and elders hated the fact he played what would later be called the Blues for many of the same reasons. Ultimately, B.B. King was impressed by the rapper’s ability, and admitted most people could not rhyme every word. He accepted Hip-Hop as an art form and applauded its success.
After years of hard work Big K.R.I.T released a record and make XXL freshman class list in 2011. His album gets much critical acclaim because it is at the same time cerebral and down-home. It talks about southern freedom fighters of the civil rights era and strip clubs. A genuinely southern album welcoming yet challenging to the listener. Bloggers have a field day debating the double meanings to the rhymes and what he really meant.
For the sophomore album, he wanted to make a concept song. In the song, three dead men talk to the angel of death which appears to them as a praying man. One man was lynched, one jumped from a slave ship, and another died while running away from the plantation. He gets the DJ from his favorite strip club to help him produce the track. After it was finished the DJ Chucks suggests that B.B. King would be a great addition to the record. K.R.I.T laughs but after being prodded by chunky gets his lawyer to reach out to B.B. King.
Luckily, one of the grandchildren of B.B. King’s band members was a fan of K.R.I.T. When the name is mentioned, the grandchild happened to be in the room and played the mp3 for the legends. B.B. King liked the album and was happy to work with the young rapper.
K.R.I.T recounted the story for “Complex” magazine as being surreal. The legend came in the booth as an extremely humble character. They talked and B.B. King offered to play his guitar in addition to singing. There were three flawless takes of B.B. King sang and played over the track. K.R.I.T was amazed at the precision and passion of the 84-year-old.
After the session, K.R.I.T and King talked about the industry and life in general. B.B. King re-told the story of how he had to fight to get his photo on his album cover. The moral was to fight, but not let bitterness fill your heart. King said he has forgotten most of the bad things that happened to him because people are so kind to him now. It is water under the bridge, and his eyes are facing forward.
King then told K.R.I.T he was the continuation of the musical tradition of Mississippi. Hip-Hop is the new method of conveying raw emotion to a room full of people. It is another unapologetic reflection of truth.
No outsider can say Blues or Hip-Hop should or should not use certain methods of communication. The music is made for the people in the backwoods of Mississippi. These people afford the rest of the world the privilege of hearing their music.
B.B. King died three years after the recording. K.R.I.T told Vox is mission is to continue to spread King’s music and inform the younger generation. K.R.I.T will forever be in debt to King not only for his professionalism. King opened his warm and creative soul to the young rapper. K.R.I.T and all his fans will never be the same after.
How the story illustrates rebirth
The story of K.R.I.T and King shows how music is being reborn constantly. King added to the American lexicon of music soul-stirring music. These seeds germinated in another Mississippi native building his own art form. Not only has the artistry been passed down to the new generation, but the mentality of resilience. It is the continuation of blackness. The term blackness doesn’t denote a skin color, it represents an experience that transcends the individual. One can view it being born in America or being imported from Africa, but it can’t be denied that it is unique and beyond mental constructs.
Rebirth is the realization that what most conceive as the individual is really a continuum of experience much bigger than one can conceptualize. The concept of the individual is an artificial construct used to aid in understanding. What exists is a never-ending flux of energy and thought that emerges as what we call individuals.
The song ” Praying Man” is a living example of rebirth. It connects the ancestors with the older generation and the newer generation. In the song, all the generations exist in one, and the lines of demarcation become blurred. We realize the ancestors are one with us and we are one with the ancestors. Even though the artists are not Buddhist, they exemplify the principles. The idea of rebirth is not unique to Buddhism or Asia, it is a concept that people witness every day in their own life.
For more on music and Buddhism
To hear the song “Praying Man” click HERE
To learn more about Buddhism click HERE
- Big K.R.I.T explains how the collaboration with B.B. King came together 11-12-14 http://www.hiohopdx.com
- Big K.R.I.T on B.B. King: “He did not have to be Humble” 5-15-15 http://www.rollingstone.com
- We Tried to get Big K.R.I.T to dis another MC 3-30-12 http://www.vice.com
- B.B. King: Sweet Sixteen http://www.paste.com
- All Day and Night: Memories from Beale St 1990 Documentary Directed by Gordon and Guida