Developing leaders for a diverse democracy is an increasingly important aim of higher education and social justice is ever more a goal of leadership education efforts. Accordingly, it is important to explore how dominant leadership models, as blueprints for student leadership development, account for and may unwittingly reinforce systems of domination, like racism. This critical discourse analysis, rooted in racialization and color-evasiveness, examines three prominent college student leadership development models to examine how leaders and leadership are racialized. We find that all three leadership texts frame leaders and leadership in color-evasive ways. Specifically, the texts’ discourses reveal three mechanisms for evading race in leadership: focusing on individual identities, emphasizing universality, and centering collaboration. Implications for race in leadership development, the social construction of leadership more broadly, and future scholarship are discussed.
A CRITICAL DISCOURSE ANALYSIS OF MAINSTREAM COLLEGE STUDENT LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT MODELS