"“He’s a dougla, like you,” the musician said.
“A what?” I asked, shaking hands and saying hello.
“A dougla. He’s African and Indian.”
“Wait.” I laughed. “Y’all have a word for that?”
They did. I put it under my tongue and bounced it against my teeth. Dougla. It had been a Bhojpuri slur before assimilating into Caribbean vernacular, much like ‘half-caste’ in Nigeria. Dougla was particular, though, specific. To be half-caste was to be Nigerian and anything else, the mix didn’t matter, but dougla was restricted. Dougla proved that somewhere in the world, on this island, there was a place, a named space for us. Later, a Bahamian friend of mine mentioned a conversation she’d had with her mother about me.
“I met a dougla today,” she’d said. “But she’s from Nigeria.”
“Wha yuh mean?” her mother asked. “How she ah dougla?”
“Her mother Indian and her father Nigerian.”
“Ohhh!” said her mother. “She ah pure dougla!”
She meant I was an unmixed mix, that my father could trace his family back to Osisi Udugudu, my great-great-grandfather, and that the thread would begin and end on the same land in Umuahia where our village house now stands. My mother’s thread would go all the way back to the 1800s, to a village in northern Sri Lanka called Mathagal and a man called Anthony Pillai, great-grandfather to both my grandparents. It was a strange thought that, for the first time, I was considered a pure anything."
Full piece: http://www.commonwealthwriters.org/who-will-claim-you/