Ethnicity & Culture

A dialectic is at work in that biology and ancestry influence culture with a distinct language in the creation of syncretic societies of Creole peoples.


Ethnic origins

"We find that the most likely source of the indigenous ancestry in Caribbean islanders is a Native South American component shared among inland Amazonian tribes, Central America, and the Yucatan peninsula, suggesting extensive gene flow across the Caribbean in pre-Columbian times. We find evidence of two pulses of African migration. The first pulse—which today is reflected by shorter, older ancestry tracts—consists of a genetic component more similar to coastal West African regions involved in early stages of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. The second pulse—reflected by longer, younger tracts—is more similar to present-day West-Central African populations, supporting historical records of later transatlantic deportation. Surprisingly, we also identify a Latino-specific European component that has significantly diverged from its parental Iberian source populations, presumably as a result of small European founder population size. "

p. 1.

PLOS Genetics | 2 November 2013 | Volume 9 | Issue 11 | pp. 1-19.



What do language and symbols mean with respect to conveying cultural norms and patterns of social unity?

Octavio Paz's prefatory study to the universality and ethnic isolation of human existence.

El Laberinto de la Soledad

The Labyrinth of Solitude or the maze of isolation

language is a significant, if not defining part of people's culture because it has the capacity to convey symbolic and literal meaning that embody cultural expectations, sanctions, and rewards.


symbols are the means we have to tie images and ideas to concepts widely identifiable throughout an entire culture.


What do these symbols mean in relation to our history?



Take for example the meaning of Creole: (a Portuguese word originally)

1. European born in the Americas

2. Mixed ethnicity

mulatto: African and European

mestizo: Indigenes and European

mustee: African and Indigenes






Emergence of a cultural story to explain our identity


Crosby argued "We are what inadvertant effects and fortune have left us ."


Mintz argued " We are what our appetites make us and we are the procucts of the extent to which we go to satisfy that hunger.


We are what our parents were:

List your parents ethnic mixture, based on their parent's nationality and ethnological heritage.