“How Did My Identity Develop Over The Years?”

Did you know racial identity development has a lot to do with how you see yourself and others?

In this brief article, I discuss how racial identity can impact our worlds (even mental and emotional health) more than we may think.

It took me a few years before I could figure out what my worldview was. I’ve always been rather vocal and independent. But racial identity development may take more time to develop because of the pressure to confirm or integrate and/or the pressure to segregate in some cultures.

Even for those who are not of color, racial identity development is important in terms of how you see yourself and others, connect with others, and support others in the world.

Our racial identity is developed as we grow throughout the lifespan and may change many times over time. It is a dynamic process that is often influenced by intrapsychic and interpersonal forces.

John and Joy Hoffman compiled a model to help explain the stages people of color and Caucasian/Europeans experience as they develop.

The stages for people of color include:

  1. Dissonance
  2. Immersion
  3. Emersion
  4. Internalization

The stages for Caucasians/Europeans include:

  1. Acceptance
  2. Resistance
  3. Retreat
  4. Emergence

The two additional stages for both groups include:

  1. Conformity
  2. Integrative Awareness


For an explanation of each stage and examples, watch my most recent video:

Photo by W.K. Kellogg Foundation

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