“I am not a little bit of many things; But I am the sufficient representation of many things. I am not an incompletion of all these races; But I am a masterpiece of the prolific. I am an entirety, I am not a lack of anything; Rather I am a whole of many things…” -C. JoyBell C.

Poetic Public SocIologist

Race & Ethnic Relations: Leadership & The Multiracial Experience by Naliyah Kaya is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Professor: Dr. Naliyah Kaya              
Contact Information: Naliyah.Kaya@montgomerycollege.edu

Leadership & The Multiracial Experience Syllabus

*Special Topic Course 

EDCP 418K & HESI 421 [2014-2017]

University of Maryland, College Park

Required Texts

*Articles & other readings and videos outside of the texts will be required. These readings & videos will be provided in the Course Content section of Blackboard. Unless marked *Optional they are required reading/viewing material.

Bordas, Juana. 2012. Salsa, Soul, and Spirit: Leadership for a Multicultural Age. 2nd ed. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc


Rondilla, Joanne L., and Rudy P. Guevarra Jr., and Paul Spickard, eds. 2017. Red & Yellow Black & Brown: Decentering Whiteness in Mixed Race Studies. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

Course Description

*While the course focuses on the multi experience, you do not need to identify as multi-racial/ethnic/cultural to participate.

This course will offer you the opportunity to explore leadership in connection with multi-racial/ethnic/cultural identity and experiences utilizing an interdisciplinary narrative approach (i.e. storytelling).

You will study issues of history, culture, and activism—primarily through personal narratives—as they relate to leadership within the “multi” community. Specifically, we will focus on how culture, family, community, and heritage influence leadership styles as well as the forms leadership has taken within the multi community.

By reading and discussing scholarly, literary, editorial and visual texts we will critically examine topics such as:

  • Leadership theories & styles
  • The history of racialization in the U.S.
  • Racial identity development
  • Processes of “othering”
  • Acceptance and the politics of claiming, passing & accenting
  • Representations in the media
  • Inter-racial/cultural relationships
  • The multi family including transracial & transnational adoption
  • The multiracial movement & academia

The course encourages the use of artistic expression as you explore your own leadership style(s) and identities in relation to larger discourses and narratives around race and intersecting identities.

Learning Outcomes

By engaging with assigned reading & viewing materials and actively participating in the course you will:

  • Develop the active listening & communications skills necessary for engaging in critical dialogues across various social identities
  • Have a foundational understanding of race & the history of racialization within the U.S.
  • Be familiar with multiracial identity development models & factors affecting identity development
  • Be aware of your own cultural beliefs and how they inform attitudes & behaviors
  • Be able to critically assess issues affecting the “multi community”
  • Have an understanding of how culture, family, community, and heritage influence leadership styles
  • Identify & cultivate your own leadership style(s)
  • Have an understanding of how leadership & leaders have impacted the “multi community”

Course & Community Expectations

We will discuss and create course & community expectations together at the beginning of the semester. Below are some that I believe are essential to a respectful and safe environment that fosters success and excellence:

We will come to class prepared

I hold all students to high standards because I believe every student is capable of
excelling. This is a discussion-based course; therefore I expect that you will regularly check the Blackboard website for journal assignments and weekly readings and come to class prepared (having read the assigned readings and completed all assignments) and ready to participate in discussions and activities.

We will engage in timely communication with one another

Should you have a question or concern regarding your coursework I expect that you will contact me immediately rather than waiting until you have fallen behind. I will commit to providing timely feedback to assist in your success.

We will act with integrity

I expect that you will act with integrity; please do not put either of us in an uncomfortable situation by cheating or plagiarizing. If it is determined that you have
acted in a dishonest manner you will fail the assignment. To avoid plagiarism (copying the works or ideas of others and passing them off as you own) make sure to cite the sources you use and put all direct quotes in parentheses.

We will treat each other with respect

I will act in a respectful manner and expect that you will do the same. This course will embrace and celebrate the diversity of its participants as an essential element of our learning community. The course curriculum seeks to create an environment that supports pluralism of opinions and beliefs. At no time will discrimination or disrespect toward ones’ physical ability, sex, gender identity, sexuality, age, spiritual/religious beliefs, race, ethnicity, nationality, class, occupation, or marital status be tolerated. We will discuss things that undoubtedly everyone will not have the same views or experiences on or with, therefore we must treat one another with the utmost respect.

Course Assignments/Assessment


Your grade will be based on the following four course components:

Journal/Blog Entries                                                 = 25%

Experiential Learning                                                = 25 %

Cultural Self Portrait & Presentation                          = 25 %

Class Preparation, Participation, Quizzes                    = 25%

Grading Scale

A+             97-100%                 C             73-76.99%            

A             93-96.99%                C-            70-72.99%          

A-             90-92.99%               D+           67-69.99%          

B+             87-89.99%               D             63-66.99%          

B             83-86.99%                D-             60-62.99%           

B-             80-82.99%                F             59.99% & â         

C+             77-79.99%           


*Remember to back up your work and keep copies of all assignments


The purpose of this assignment is for you to independently connect course readings, visual texts, assignments, and discussions to your everyday life. You have the option of:

creating a multimedia journal/blog to post to


uploading your entries to Blackboard.

Topics will be announced in class and/or on Blackboard. All journal assignments should be between 250-500 words, and uploaded to your blog or Blackboard under Assignments prior to the first class meeting each week.

Experiential Learning:

You will have the opportunity to participate in TWO experiential learning activities (one on-campus experience at MC & one off-campus experience) and will complete a critical reflection after each experience:

On-Campus Experience: *Critical Reflection is due two weeks after the event you attend.

Part 1:

Attend one of the following events and take photos if permitted. Prior to attending the event do some research to learn more about the topic and speaker. *Keep a list of your sources, as you will need to cite them.

[Insert 2 cultural events for that semester]

Part 2:

You will reflect on the experience through a medium of your choice (blog/journal entry, poem, song, painting, video diary, digital story...) that includes a minimum of 900-1200 words (approximately 4 pages) or is 3-5 minutes in length, a reference list of all citations you obtained information from, and addresses the following questions:

What did you learn and what has this experience taught you about leadership?
How does the material presented and/or the event itself connect to the topics, readings, and activities within the class?

*You must include a minimum of 5 connections to terms/concepts, readings, and/or activities. These should be bolded in your paper or clearly identifiable in other artistic or audio works.

In what ways did your own identities and background (socio-economic, cultural, linguistic…) affect the way you viewed the speaker(s) and material that was presented?

Off-campus Experience: Place of Your Choosing

Part 1: Pre-visit

Do your research. Identify a space, business or non-profit whose mission is centered on social justice, activism and/or community building. Find out as much as possible about the space, business or non-profit (who started it and why, what their mission is, if they offer programs or give back to their community in some way, what social issues seem to be of importance to them, if they were created to fill a need in the community...). You may need to contact them to obtain some of this information. *Keep a list of your sources, as you will need to cite them.

Examples of spaces, businesses and non-profits:

Busboys and Poets | Anacostia Arts Center | Politics and Prose Bookstore | Mosaic Theater Company | Theater of the Oppressed

Part 2: Visit

If at all possible, plan to visit the physical location of the space, business or non-profit with other interested classmates. If you have chosen an arts’ based venue then you may attend a program or event. You will visit the space/attend an event and speak with at least 1 or more employees/actors to learn more about it. If permitted, make sure to take photos and/or flyers.

Part 3: Reflection

After your visit you will reflect on the experience and assess the space, business or non-profit through a medium of your choice (blog/journal entry, poem, song, painting, video diary, digital story...) that includes a minimum of 1500-1800 words (approximately 6 pages) or is 4-6 minutes in length, a reference list citing all sources you obtained information from, and addresses the following:

  • Which space, business or non-profit did you learn about?          
  • Why were you drawn to this particular space, business or non-profit?                                  
  • What is the purpose/mission of this space, business or non-profit- does it seek to fulfill a particular community need- if so what and for whom?
  • Do you believe it is successful why or why not? Discuss any suggestions you have.          
  • Which classmates did you attend the event/visit with?
  • What did you learn from the employee(s)?
  • What has this experience taught you about leadership and how does it directly connect to specific topics, readings and activities within the class? Include a minimum of 3 examples/connections. These should be bolded in your paper or clearly identifiable in other artistic or audio works.

Cultural Self Portrait: Your Story- Your Truth

Our environments and experiences are extremely powerful in shaping our identities and how we view the world. Your cultural self-portrait should paint a picture of who you are and where you come from. Great leaders share one thing in common- awareness and understanding of self and their personal history within a cultural context. This is a space to reflect on the role culture has played in your identity development and views on leadership.

This project may take the form of several mediums:

Essay (6-8 pages)
Digital story (8-10 minutes) utilizing various visual (scanned images, online images, images you’ve taken with a camera) and audio media
Other creative work (spoken word piece, poem, musical creation…)

*Creative works should be approximately 5-7 minutes long or 6-8 pages in length

Begin your project by:

1) reflecting upon your life experiences through the lenses of: race and ethnicity, culture, nationality, primary language, gender, sexual orientation and sexual identity, social class, ability and disability, religion and spirituality, and other relevant dimensions

2) considering the ways in which you define and conceptualize leadership and thinking about who you consider to be a leader and why

You will then identify 2-4 critical incidents that have influenced your self-identity and views on leadership. These may be positive or negative experiences. When possible, select an incident that made you aware of the intersection of multiple identities (e.g. your gender, race, and class…).

When recounting the critical incidents, situate the reader/viewer by addressing the questions of:

  • when and where the incident took place,
  • why you believe it took place, and
  • how it affected you, your relationships with others (e.g. family members, members of a particular racial category…) and your notions of leadership and how it made you feel.


You will be given 10-15 minutes total to present and for Q & A. Specific requirements and the grading rubric may be found on Blackboard under Assignments.

Class Preparation, Participation, Quizzes:

*There is no way to make-up for missed classroom discussion/participation unless your absence was excused.

This grade will be based on preparation (completion of assigned readings and homework as evidenced through quizzes, activities and exercises), facilitating a class activity/discussion, engaged contributions to class discussions (expressing your opinions, asking questions, sharing personal experiences…) and other factors that contribute to the positive development of the class community.

Tentative Weekly Course Outline

*Please note that this syllabus is subject to change at any time during this course. You will be notified if any changes occur.

**All homework assignments will be listed on Blackboard weekly under Announcements

Week & Topic(s) | Readings/Viewings

1 | Course Introduction & Overview


Pedagogy of the Oppressed (pp. 71-86) | Paulo Freire

Turning to One another (pp. 18-37) | Margaret J. Wheatley

The Case Study Research Method | Ashley Crossman

2 | Say What?! Active Listening, Implicit Bias, Assertive Communication, Microaggressions and Tips for Effective Cross-Cultural Communication 

Active Listening | University of Colorado Conflict Research Consortium

The Power of Deliberate Listening | Ronnie Polaneczky

Responding to Triggers | *Excerpted and modified from Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice pp. 78-79 Maurianne Adams, Lee Anne Bell, Pat Griffin

Facilitator’s Guide to Participatory Decision-Making | Catherine Toldi, Duane Berger, Lenny Lind, Michael Doyle and Sam Kaner

Dialogue and Debate/Discussion: An Introduction | *Adapted from a paper prepared by Shelley Berman

Two Radical Ideas about Listening | Lalita Amos

Implicit Bias | Melanie Funchess

Communication Styles Assertive Passive Aggressive | I Am About You

How Micro Aggressions are Like Mosquito Bites | Fusion Comedy

What Kind of Asian Are You? | Ken Tanaka

Multiracial American Voices: What Are You | Pew Research Center

Racial Microaggressions in Everyday Life | Derald Wing Sue 

3 | Conceptualizing Race in America

Race & Ethnicity, Attribution Theory & Error (pp. 223-249 & 126-127) | Sociology: The Essentials Margaret Anderson & Howard Taylor

Optional Ethnicities: For Whites Only? | Mary C. Waters

What the Census Calls Us: A historical Timeline | Pew Research Center

Introduction (pp. 1-8) | Red & Yellow Black & Brown: Decentering Whiteness in Mixed Race Studies Joanne Rondilla, Rudy Guevarra Jr. and Paul Spickard

*Optional Bumbay in the Bay: The Struggle for Indipino Identity in San Francisco (pp. 147-162) | Red & Yellow Black & Brown: Decentering Whiteness in Mixed Race Studies Maharaj Raju Desai

I’m Middle Eastern and White, and Those are Not the Same Thing | Erica Pishdadian

Arab Americans lobbied for their own US census box. Will it backfire? | Arwa Mahdawi

For Some Americans of MENA Descent, Checking a Census Box is Complicated | Kat Chow

Plan to Add MENA Category in US Census Draws Mixed Response | Thomas Seibert

Appendix A The Racial Prerequisite Cases (pp. 203-208) | White By Law Ian F. Haney López

Orientations (pp. 4-13) | Race, Place, & the Law David Delaney

4 | Conceptualizing Race in America

American Mestizo: Filipinos and Antimiscegenation Laws in California (pp. 825-831) | Leti Volpp

Filipino Laborers + The Politics of Partying | Melissa Pandika

Little Manila: Filipinos in California’s Heartland | KVIE

The Great Quake: 1906-2006 / Out of Chaos Came New Chinese America | Vanessa Hua

A Historical Timeline of Multiracial Events | Eric Hamako

Glossary Terms (pp. ix-xi) | The Multiracial Experience Racial Borders as the New Frontier Maria P. P. Root

The Evolution of the Multiracial Movement (pp.13-17) | Multiracial Child Resource Book Ramona Douglass

5 | Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner: Interracial Relationships, Multiracial Families, Transracial & Transnational Adoption

Epilogue (pp. 221-222) | Red & Yellow Black & Brown: Decentering Whiteness in Mixed Race Studies Nitasha Tamar Sharma

Intermarriage and the Making of a Multicultural Society in the Baja California Borderlands (pp. 49-70)| Red & Yellow Black & Brown: Decentering Whiteness in Mixed Race Studies Verónica Castillo-Muñoz

Cross-Racial Minority Intermarriage: Mutual Marginalization and Critique (pp.71-87) | Red & Yellow Black & Brown: Decentering Whiteness in Mixed Race Studies Jessica Vasquez-Tokos

Parental Racial Soxioalization: A Glimpse into the Racial Socialization Process as It Occurs in a Dual-Minority Multiracial Family (pp. 88-105) | Red & Yellow Black & Brown: Decentering Whiteness in Mixed Race Studies Cristina M. Ortiz

Checking “Other” Twice: Transnational Dual Minorities (pp. 178-197) | Red & Yellow Black & Brown: Decentering Whiteness in Mixed Race Studies  Lily Anne Y. Welty Tamai

6 | Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner: Interracial Relationships, Multiracial Families, Transracial & Transnational Adoption

Deportation a ‘Death Sentence’ to Adoptees After a Lifetime in the U.S. | Choe Sang-Hun

Lost Birds: Four Adopted Women Seek out their Native American Roots | Danielle J. Powell, Joshua J. Friedman and Cassandra Herrman

No ‘rainbow families’: Ethnic donor stipulation at fertility centre ‘floors’ local woman | Jessica Barrett

Haiti Statement by Adoptees of Color Roundtable

The Many Problems with, “I want Mixed Babies | chescaleigh

Why a New Mixed Race Generation will Not Solve Racism | Lauren Michele Jackson

Study Investigates Marks of Racism in “Interracial Families” | José Tadeu Arantes

Whatever Partner I choose Says Something (pp. 221-223) | What Are You: Voices of Mixed-Race Young People Monina Diaz

I’m Tired of Watching Brown Men Fall in Love with White Women Onscreen | Aditi Natasha Kini

Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon: The Big Sick, Racialised Comedy, Cultural Identity- The Feed | SBS Viceland

Does Race Affect Your Dating Life? | Decoded MTV News

Legal Map: Where Were Interracial Couples Illegal? | LovingDay.org

Walmart Falsely Suspects White Father of Kidnapping His “Mixed” Kids | Fox 5

[Adoption] Fact Sheet | PBS

Transracial Adoptions In Whose Best Interest? | The Multiracial Experience Racial Borders as the New Frontier Ruth G. McRoy and Christine C. Iijima Hall

Black Kids in White Houses: On Race, Silence, and the Changing American Family | Jen Graves

Position Statement on Trans-Racial Adoption | National Association of Black Social Workers

The Realities of Raising a Kid of a Different Race | Karen Valby

Transracial Adoptions: A ‘feel good’ act or no ‘big deal’? | Jessica Ravitz

*Optional Transracial Adoption: The Pros and Cons and The Parents’ Perspective | Andrew Morrison

When You Don’t Look Like Your Parents | Boldly

About ICWA | National Indian Child Welfare Association

Native American Adoption Case Creates High Court Rift | Richard Wolf

The Casual Racism I Deal with as an Asian Woman in an Interracial Relationship | Victoria Chan

Tamera Mowry Responds to Critics of Her Interracial Marriage | Oprah Where Are They Now?

Inside An Interracial Marriage | Jay and Megan Jones

Stunning Portraits of Mixed-Race Families | David Rosenberg

7 | Leadership- What’s Culture Got to Do with It?

The Social Change Model of Leadership Development | Central Michigan University

An Overview of the Social Change Model of Leadership Development | Kristan Cilente

Introduction: Diversity is Transforming Leadership (pp. 1-21) | Salsa, Soul, And Spirit Juana Bordas

Part Four: Leadership for a Multicultural Age (pp. 180-205) | Salsa, Soul, And Spirit Juana Bordas

What is Social Change? (pp. 28-32) | Leadership For A Better World Wendy Wagner

Origins (pp. 97-112) | Dreams From My Father Barack Obama

Multiracial in America | Pew Research Center

The ‘orphan’ I adopted from Uganda Already Had a Family | Jessica Davis

8 | Aren’t They All Confused? Identity Development & Theory

The New Color Complex: Appearances and Biracial Identity | David Brunsma and Kerry Ann Rockquemore

Racing to Theory or Retheorizing Race (pp. 27-31) | Kerry Ann Rockquemore, David Brunsma and Daniel Delgado

Racial Identity Development and Persons of Mixed Race Heritage (pp. 34-40) | Multiracial Child Resource Book Maria P.P. Root

Research on Biracial and Multiracial Identity Development: Overview and Synthesis | Kristen A. Renn

Rising Sun, Rising Soul: On Mixed Race Asian Identity That Includes Blackness (pp. 21-32) | Red & Yellow Black & Brown: Decentering Whiteness in Mixed Race Studies Velina Hasu Houston

Blackapina (pp. 33-46) |  Red & Yellow Black & Brown: Decentering Whiteness in Mixed Race Studies Janet C. Mendoza Stickmon

Social Class Racial/Ethnic Identity, and the Psychology of “Choice”(pp. 30-38) | Multiracial Americans And Social Class Peony Fhagen-Smith

Hidden in Plain Sight: Life as a Mixed-Lebanese | Joseph Ataman

9 | Aren’t They All Confused? Identity Development & Theory

Are You Asian Enough? | CollegeHumor

‘Racial Imposter Syndrome’: Here Are Your Stories | Leah Donnella

You’re Not Black or Mexican Enough!” Policing Racial/Ethnic Authenticity among Blaxicans in the United States | Red & Yellow Black & Brown: Decentering Whiteness in Mixed Race Studies Rebecca Romo

“People don’t believe I am Japanese” says Miss Japan | BBC News

Miss Japan Challenges the Norm | Al Jazeera America

Biracial Miss Universe Japan Brings Racial issues to Spotlight | CBS This Morning

Am I Latina Enough? | Irina Gonzalez

Are you an Indian? | Les Tate

When is a Latina Not a Latina? | Suzan Colón

10 | But You Don’t Look…The History and Politics of Passing & Accenting in the U.S.

Part One: A New Social Covenant (pp. 23-41) | Salsa, Soul, And Spirit Juana Bordas

Language, power, and the performance of race and class (pp. 72-85) | Multiracial Americans and Social Class Benjamin Bailey

Forced to Pass and Other Sins Against Authenticity | Kerry Ann Rockquemore

Passing as Black: Racial Identity Work among Biracial Americans (pp. 386-396) | Nikki Khanna and Cathryn Johnson

11 | You’re Sooo Exotic: Colorism & Perceptions & Representations of Bi/Multiracial Ethnic Individuals in the Media

How Colorism Affects People Around the World | Oprah’s Life Class

Colorism and the Law in Latin America-Global Perspectives on Colorism Conference Remarks | Tanya Katerí Hernández

Confessions of a D Girl: Colorism and Global Standards of Beauty | Chika Okoro

Daring to be Dark: Fighting Against Colorism in South Asian Cultures | Simra Mariam

‘You look like the help’: the Disturbing Link Between Asian Skin Color and Status | Mari Santos

We need to talk about Colorism in Latinx Communities | Yesenia Padilla

On ‘Jackson Five Nostrils,’ Creole vs. ‘Negro’ and Beefing Over Beyoncé’s ‘Formation’ | Yaba Blay

Principle 2: I to We-From Individualism to Collective Identity | Salsa, Soul, And Spirit Juana Bordas

About the Campaign | Dark is Beautiful

Lupita Nyong’o Delivers Powerful Speech on Colorism, Self-Love | NewsOne Staff

This Filipina Actress Wants to Change the Colonial Mentality Around Beauty | AJ+

12 | You’re Sooo Exotic: Colorism & Perceptions & Representations of Bi/Multiracial Ethnic Individuals in the Media

Hypervisibility and Invisibility of Female Haafu Models in Japan’s Beauty Culture (pp. 163-177) | Red & Yellow Black & Brown: Decentering Whiteness in Mixed Race Studies Kaori Mori Want

“Gorgeous Genetic Combinations”: The Problem With Calling Mixed People More Beautiful | Saeheelee

“What’s class got to do with it?” Images and Discourses on Race and Class in Interracial Relationships (pp. 22-29) | Multiracial Americans and Social Class Erica Chito Childs

Not Your Erotic, Not Your Exotic | Suheir Hammad

13 | Leadership Styles in Communities of Color

Salsa, Soul, And Spirit Juana Bordas

Principle 3: Mi Casa Es Su Casa: A Spirit of Generosity (pp. 58-75)

Principle 4: A Leader Among Equals (pp. 77-95)

Principle 5: Leaders as Guardians of Public Values (pp. 96-115)

14 | Creating the Circle of Leadership

Salsa, Soul, And Spirit Juana Bordas

Principle 6: Leaders as Community Stewards (pp. 116-137)

Principle 7: All My Relatives (pp. 139-159)

15 | Creating the Circle of Leadership *End of the Semester Celebration

Salsa, Soul, And Spirit Juana Bordas

Principle 8: Gracias (pp. 160-179)

*Cultural Self Portrait & Off Campus Experiential Learning Assignment Citations

Jenkins, Toby. Syllabus for Cultural Leadership. Spring 2011, George Mason University.

McShay, James. Syllabus for Multicultural Practice In Student Affairs: Self, Education, and Society. Fall 2011, University of Maryland, College Park.