Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Leadership (MAL)




This thesis addresses how racism affects the leadership practice of the white leader in the United States. The researcher did a self-analysis of her own spiritual and psychological development, as a white leader, from birth to age 35. The researcher used her own narrative as the primary source of data. Secondary resources were used to interpret this data. The researcher argues that the United States is a nation in which social life is still largely governed by the belief in the intellectual, cultural and moral superiority of whites, or the doctrine of white supremacy.

The researcher argues further that the white leader is prepared, through the processes of socialization, cultural dominance and isolation, to practice racism, unconsciously, in social life. The researcher suggests that a remedy for this situation is the development of a racial consciousness, wherein the white leader actively goes about the task of learning how she was socialized into the practice of racism.

The development of a racial consciousness is an aspect of the process of Individuation. The researcher moves her own narrative through Joseph Campbell's and Carol Pearson's model of Individuation, "The Hero's Adventure." The narrative is organized chronologically through the preparation, departure, fulfillment and return phases of the archetypal pattern of the Hero's Adventure.

The narrative and the interpretation of the data reveal that in the case of this white leader, the development of a racial consciousness resulted in a greater level of awareness in four areas: an awareness of one's socialization into racism, an awareness of the power differential between whites and people of color, a recognition of cultural difference, and finally, an understanding of how power and culture converge to reinforce and reproduce racism. Developing a racial consciousness also resulted in a capacity to recognize and acknowledge racist leadership choices. The researcher asserts that when the white leader recognizes and acknowledges racist leadership choices she is resisting racism.


SC 11.MAL.1998.Campbell.EA