Five Things with Jordan Soliz
Jordan Soliz provides research-based insight into how a diverse background shapes a person’s identity. In this episode of Faculty 101, a look at the communication studies professor’s own background and the challenges of communication in a mixed-race family. | Show notes: Learn more about Jordan Soliz ›› comm.unl.edu/jordan-soliz; Read his research ›› bit.ly/2RUnp7k
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[00:00:05.358]In Washington, as Senator Harris
[00:00:07.080]and Vice President Biden get ready
[00:00:08.840]to make their first public appearance together.
[00:00:11.210]News stories herald the historic
[00:00:13.410]vice-presidential nomination of Kamala Harris.
[00:00:16.470]She is the daughter of Indian and Jamaican immigrants.
[00:00:20.030]Kamala Harris today speaking out,
[00:00:21.680]as the first black woman and the first Asian-American
[00:00:24.132]tapped to be vice president.
[00:00:31.050]But the nomination also triggered a reaction
[00:00:33.790]that Jordan Soliz has seen before.
[00:00:36.680]This mixed racial and ethnic background
[00:00:39.110]sometimes is used by others as a way,
[00:00:42.180]another way to delegitimize someone
[00:00:45.059]and question their authenticity.
[00:00:50.230]Research by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln,
[00:00:52.830]Communication Studies Professor
[00:00:54.700]provides insight into the impact of diversity.
[00:01:00.500]This is Faculty 101,
[00:01:02.640]five things about the multiracial experience.
[00:01:10.290]According to the US Census Bureau,
[00:01:12.250]multiracial and multiethnic marriages are on the rise.
[00:01:16.100]But little research has been done about the experience
[00:01:19.140]of individuals with diverse backgrounds.
[00:01:21.880]Jordan Soliz grew up in a family
[00:01:23.700]with different ethnicities and religions,
[00:01:25.950]an experience that shaped his perception of the world.
[00:01:29.574]Number one, when it comes to families,
[00:01:33.620]it's not one size fits all.
[00:01:36.300]I realized kind of as I was growing up
[00:01:38.490]that my experiences were fairly unique,
[00:01:41.866]but I also realized it kinda shaped
[00:01:44.230]my perception of the world.
[00:01:45.938]And as I started reading more about families
[00:01:49.880]or reading more about research on identity and difference,
[00:01:52.720]I realized two things,
[00:01:53.720]when people talked about family,
[00:01:55.540]they oftentimes assume there's a lot of homogeneity, right?
[00:01:59.170]Same religion, same race, same ethnicity,
[00:02:01.900]or when they talked about issues
[00:02:03.720]with interracial, inter-ethnic, interfaith relations,
[00:02:06.630]it was in society, not in our personal relationships.
[00:02:09.190]And I kinda realized, wait a minute,
[00:02:10.460]this doesn't speak to me at all, right?
[00:02:13.360]I wonder if it speaks to other people.
[00:02:15.440]And that's how I started my research,
[00:02:18.200]that's how I started really getting
[00:02:21.404]into what I was interested in,
[00:02:25.100]and it's taken off from there.
[00:02:27.870]Number two, communication can be challenging.
[00:02:31.110]It's problematic, especially in some of our research
[00:02:34.340]of individuals' mixed ethnic or racial groups,
[00:02:37.950]when their parents never talked about the fact
[00:02:39.710]that they're gonna have to deal with bias and prejudice
[00:02:40.693]or people who not understand their backgrounds.
[00:02:44.240]They said, the silence.
[00:02:46.210]When I was younger I thought, maybe that's good.
[00:02:48.690]They acted like they didn't see race or ethnicity.
[00:02:50.600]The problem is they got out in the world and realized
[00:02:52.960]everyone did, and they weren't prepared for it.
[00:02:55.160]The more detrimental type of communication
[00:02:57.900]in the family was when family members would prefer one side,
[00:03:02.980]you're really this or talk negatively about another side,
[00:03:06.150]another ethnicity or race,
[00:03:07.520]or maybe from grandparents not recognizing
[00:03:10.456]that they're talking about another race
[00:03:13.060]or ethnicity which is actually part of you.
[00:03:15.340]So that can be detrimental,
[00:03:16.580]the silence about race and ethnicity can be detrimental.
[00:03:20.719]Number three, in families, it's important
[00:03:23.870]to have conversations about the issues.
[00:03:26.640]The most valuable communication from parents
[00:03:30.780]and other family members, grandparents
[00:03:33.100]was talking about this and recognizing there's differences
[00:03:35.827]in the family and recognizing, or letting them know
[00:03:40.500]that society is gonna view in a certain way,
[00:03:44.470]and just talking openly about this.
[00:03:47.440]And so it's in these open conversations,
[00:03:49.210]but in a way that really affirms experiences
[00:03:51.210]or prepares individuals for what they may experience.
[00:03:55.300]Number four, Kamala Harris is a role model,
[00:03:58.720]but her background is sometimes used against her.
[00:04:01.890]With Senator Harris, there's questions like,
[00:04:04.580]well, what is she?
[00:04:06.320]And does she just get to claim these whenever she wants?
[00:04:09.440]And the fact is not just my research,
[00:04:11.410]but other research on individuals
[00:04:13.100]with mixed ethnic racial backgrounds.
[00:04:14.980]They'll talk about, yeah, our identities shift
[00:04:17.510]in different situations, and everyone's does,
[00:04:21.380]we just have unique experience in this way.
[00:04:24.090]So talking about that isn't problematic.
[00:04:28.420]When you use that to question the authenticity
[00:04:31.130]of who someone is and you look at those motives,
[00:04:33.750]then it becomes problematic.
[00:04:36.290]And number five, Jordan Soliz makes it a priority
[00:04:39.800]to talk openly with his children.
[00:04:42.310]When it comes down to the social and racial injustice,
[00:04:46.870]one of the things we talk about a lot
[00:04:49.320]is that you have to do something.
[00:04:51.980]You can't rage something simply on social media,
[00:04:55.790]you can't get upset about this at the dinner table.
[00:05:00.470]If my kids were here, they would probably say,
[00:05:02.570]if you're gonna complain about something,
[00:05:03.810]the first thing dad's gonna do is say, okay,
[00:05:05.190]what have you done about it?
[00:05:06.250]And that's something that I really challenged them to do,
[00:05:10.710]and whatever their cause is, do something.
[00:05:13.570]Soliz hopes his research will help teachers,
[00:05:16.180]counselors, and other practitioners
[00:05:18.260]who work with diverse populations.
[00:05:23.420]This is Faculty 101, five things with Jordan Soliz.
[00:05:29.540]Faculty 101 is produced
[00:05:31.300]by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
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