16 Struggles of Being Dougla

There’s a myth that all mixed people have great, easy lives. We are loved by one and all. But life isn’t always dandy for the dougla population in the Caribbean.

For persons living outside of the Caribbean, a dougla (pronounced: doo-gla in Trinidad and Tobago and doug-gla in Guyana) is a word used by people of the West Indies, especially in Guyana, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago. It is used to describe Caribbean people who are African and Indian mixed (more or less). If you need a point of reference, dougla celebrities are Nicki Minaj, Tatyana Ali and Vashtie – Downtown’s Sweetheart. The word itself comes from the Hindi word dogala (pronounced: doug-la), and it translates to the words ‘mix’, ‘many’ and ‘much’ on the positive side or on the negative side, ‘bastard’, ‘illegitimate’ and ‘son of a whore.’

Why isn’t life so dandy? Let’s get into it.

1. Elections are our least favourite time ever!

We dread this time of year. Anxiety around elections can start up to a whole year in advance. Based on the conduct of citizens and the inflammatory racial dialogue on social media from both the Guyanese and Trinbagoian elections this year, it’s obvious why our safety is a concern for us.

And stop giving me stupid hypothetical situations about choosing if to go back to India or Africa. I’m from here, the Caribbean, remember?

giphy Analise walk out

2. You get to hear alot of racial slurs

People feeling free to discuss how much they dislike Indians or Africans or Chinese or any race in front of you. Then look to you to agree with them.

Giphy Seriously - Nicki Minaj

Don’t they realise that they are insulting me too?

3. People assume that you identify with one race over the other.

I am mixed therefore I identify with both of them. Thank you very much.

4. You can cook curry and clap roti. 

Never laid hands on a tawa in my life!

Never laid hands on a tawa in my life!

5. You feel isolated

I don’t wish I could be more African or Indian; it’d just be nice to be fully accepted simply as I am into African, Indian and all racial circles.

gif I love me

6. Not understanding the point of Afro-*insert nationality* or Indo-*insert nationality* 

So then what am I? Dou-Guyanese?

So then what am I? Dou-Guyanese?

7. You feel hated by everyone 

No, we are not loved by one and all because we are mixed. Hello!?! We live in countries with radically charged racial views between the two races we are mixed with. Do I need to bring up every single election in the history of the country again? ughhh

giphy Kim K crying

8. People in your circle are insensitive even if you expect otherwise. 

Monoracial friends and family members can be insensitive to your unique experiences. Even though you’re a part of their lives, they still might be small-minded. In fact, anyone who is not a dougla will probably be insensitive to our experiences.

9. When you get racially-charged catcalls

Doooooooouuuggggggggssssssss…..

Leave me alone.

Leave me alone.

10.People think that your curly hair is easy to comb. 

Seriously? You have to be joking.

curly hair problems

11. Can I touch your hair?

giphy No Ms Pissy

12. Buying beauty products are hella expensive and annoying to buy

I have three different curl patterns growing from my head. My hair grows out straight then develops into waves; my crown has stubborn thick tight curls; then it grows into small to medium size curls at the top and then the bottom of my hair is loose waves or straight. How the hell am I going to figure out which products work for my hair?
Lots of product combinations and $$$

Some of us change skin tone depending on how much sun we get. Try shopping for foundation when you can’t figure out what shade you will be next week.

13. Apparently you don’t belong to your parents 

Is that your real dad?!?!

giphy what are you even saying

Other dumbass comments to add to the list: “That’s your mom?!?”, “You and your sister have the same father?”

14. On the flipside, always being related to some other dougla

We don't all look the same. Just stop it.

We don’t all look the same. Just stop it.

15. Learning to forget what people think

Because most people still have to catch up and have a lot of exploring left to do, it’s important to be resilient and value no opinion about yourself but your own.

16. Making peace yourself 

What your parents, friends, peers, schoolmates, and government say about you may dictate who you are in society for a while, but ultimately you should only be concerned about who you are to you.

If all fails, we can start our own political party and actively campaign to “douglarize” the nation.

Who said being the face of the future was easy.

giphy rihanna

Written by Analise Kandasammy. For more of her insights, check out her personal blog JustAnalise.

1 Comment

  • Janine Williams-ward says:

    Great article. Im black with jamaican roots but 2nd generation british….and live in Toronto. I get the same dumb questions.

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