The problems with colorblind leadership revealed: a call for race-conscious leaders

Osly J. Flores, Michael G. Gunzenhauser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study addresses the complexity of colorblindness as a phenomenon and explains not only its tenacity, but also potential breaks in its hold on school leadership practice. The authors draw from an interview study of 22 school leaders in a county in the Northeastern USA to examine their perceptions and practices associating with leading schools that enroll students of color. The authors propose a multi-ring model that shows variation among three perspectives: (1) holding to colorblindness, (2) recognition with minimal capacity, and (3) cultivating race-conscious. Perspectives and variation within these three rings are explored, along with consequences for multiple resulting ‘lacks’ in capacity. Implications are offered for building upon race-conscious practice where it exists, removing barriers to implementation, and expanding capacity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)963-981
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education
Issue number8
StatePublished - Sep 14 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • colorblind
  • race-consciousness
  • School leadership
  • social justice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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