—-”What is the importance of bloodlines, or genetics, in determining people’s ethnicity?”—-
Like many terms that we conflate and misuse out of ignorance, convenience, or attempted deceit, it’s simply too difficult to catalog everyone’s Race (genetic macro families), Ethnicity (genetic subrace, and tribe), Class(genetic, social), Status(economic), Normative(civic behavioral), Cultural (traditions), National (legal and institutional), and Religious(Mythological) properties.
Prior to the past century, not everyone, but nearly, everyone remained within waking distance for the full duration of their lives, and lacked images, movies, and encyclopedias – and now the internet, by which to learn about other than their near neighbors. So gene pools have been relatively close, and expanded with the geographic spread industrial revolution.
So ethnic, normative, cultural, national and religious differences were substantial around the world – and those differences have declined as the agrarian, industrial, technical, and informational revolutions have ameliorated our differences due to (a) finance, (b) legal contracts, (c) aristotelian science, and finally (d) the spread of english language as lingua franca (common language of science, business, law, and politics.)
Science creates categories, relations, and values that cause conceptual correspondence between the physical world, the social, and the internal world of the mind – creating not only an easier means of communicating across peoples, but one that corresponds most parsimoniously with reality, and as such is less open to ignorance, error, bias, and deceit. So the spread of Aristotelianism (which we can think of the religion of the upper middle and upper classes) has brought the world closer together in frames of refernce and methods of thinking.
We are not as able to achieve this same commensurability across genetic barriers. And we have not had time to find a way of discussing each other’s differences that is not in and of itself an exercise in dominance or the defense of it.
In all human relations someone in superior and someone inferior. This is always the case. And in most cases the relationship is reciprocal, and in some cases the relatoinship results in both being better despite their relatives statuses than they were without the other person.
And this is the problem because in a mixed peoples with many background and many status signal systems, the competition for status signals makes people extremely defensive of their admittedly weak positions – so they organize for and against different means of judging status and status signals, and establishing dominance and submission arrangements. (And don’t kid yourself, you aren’t even aware of how much of this your doing at every moment of ever social interaction.)
At present the ambitious peoples from world underclasses who have not had the 3500 years of ingroup development of northern europeans free of external competition, nor experienced the western invention of government without rule, the western tripartism and mutual responsibilities, the renaissance, the enlightenment, and the counter-enlighetnments by the french(rousseau), germans(kant/hegel) and jews (the pseudo-scientism of marx, freud, boaz, cantor, mises) and the second french counter-enligthenment (derrida thru rorty).
And at present the underclasses are fleeing the constraints of their primitive infrastructure, primitve, institutions, primitive norms and traditions, in order to move to those places where they are unburdend by those limits, but still posses the racial, ethnic, genetic, social, cultural, and religous limitations of those cultures – and are not willing to pay the price of conformity in order to enter more advanced cultures, nor pay the price of low status as they learn to conform to the more developed cultures.
So when we say “Ethnicity” we generally mean Race, Subrace, or Tribe, but because of Nationalism (the development of ethnic states that imposed language, cultural, religious and legal norms) we generally conflate National Origin, the culture, institutions and religions of that nation state, with Ethnicity (genetics).
Technically speaking, your ethnicity is genetic. your culture is your culture. And your state is your state of origin.
The problem is, that people have enough problems remembering the various countries, are totally ignorant of the regions within them, and even more so unaware of the vast distribution of races, subraces, tribes, and clans and the status that they hold in their local regions, that does not transfer to the new ones.
So we just lump people together under the best most polite term we can ‘ethnicity’ which generally means ‘different from me’.
I hope this helps. 😉