The fundamental reason why Douglas are considered contentious minorities within the territories in which they live is due to the Indos' recent arrival into the territories which they were sent to labour.The dougla, as a subject under Colony control, was created out of the practices and institutions which the colony used to keep the Indo Indentured labourer as a working subject within the Plantation Economy. Afros and Indos did not have a long history of miscegenation. The dougla, at the beginning of Indo arrival, did not exist. As a matter of fact, there exists records, albeit sporadic, of Indo-Euro Unions, forced and unforced, before such of any Afro-Indo miscegenation or Union, forced or otherwise. Note too, that there was a severe shortage of Indo-women. Many did not take the voyage across the Atlantic, for several reasons; some among them being that women were considered unfit to take the voyage and to labour in the canefields. The obvious the fear was that they might have been hurt and/or exploited.. However, this did not mean that the dougla did not emerge early. On the contrary, it was probably more due to the existence of the Indo-male and the Afro-female which opened the gate for the arrival of the dougla in the first place. However, this 'arrival' of the Dougla was not met with open arms, especially by the Indo community at that time.
The first reason for such a hostility was socio-religious. The Hindu religion is one where religious practices are paramount. Upon arrival, the aim for many Hindus was to preserve this practice as much as possible. Obsessions with purity and fear of loss of cultural, religious and ethnic practices was prominent on many minds of those wtihin the Indo community who thought that the preservation of Hindu culture was necessary for survival in a foreign land. When Hindus got involved with those outside the community who, they thought, engaged in Adharmic practices, it meant that, at least to them, that the attempt of preservation and attenuation of tradition was compromised.
The second reason was socio-economic. The arrival of Indians to Trinidad and Tobago's shores, as well as those of Guyana and elsewhere throughout the British Caribbean was not meant to be permanent. The aim of arrival, for many Indians, was to gain as much material wealth under contract and leave with such wealth, to their respective homelands. The dougla, for many, was seen as meaning that the aim of arrival, as well as the commitment to go back home to India would be changed irrevocably, postponed, deferred or annulled. Also, too, the status and name within the Indo-society, would have been deprived, since the dougla progeny meant a violation of economic customs among the jatis.
The third reason was racism. Trinidad, as well as other territories in the Caribbean, had a dynamic of power which was based on the colour of one's skin. This reinforced the rules by which Indo society functioned in excluding the dougla. It also was responsible for putting the other Indo based types of miscegenation (Indo-Chinese, Indo-carib) under pressure, to re-emerge as one of the older ethnic types: Afro, Indo or Euro or passing as one of them. Doing so conferred economic and social benefits not necessarily conferred to by being Afro or dark-skinned.
These three forms of cultural logic determined in a large part how the dougla would be perceived inside the Indo community and, to a certain extent, how the dougla would be perceived within the Outer community as a whole. Such a consideration also formed, to a large extent the way which douglas were and still are perceived, even up to the present day.
One calypsonian, the Mighty Dougla (Clatis Ali), described the predicament of "douglas" in the 1960s:
"If they sending Indians to India
And Africans back to Africa
Well somebody please just tell me
Where they sending poor me?
I am neither one nor the other
Six of one, half a dozen of the other
So if they sending all these people back home for true
They got to split me in two," Douglas is a sin in some religion
Contrarily to places where Afro-Indians feel uncomfortable, in the French West Indies they are treated positively by all categories of the population and no longer face an existential dilemma. Sure enough, non-Indian candidates take part in events like Miss Sari Pageant, and the Colombo (Creole Curry) is definitely considered by all Guadeloupeans and Martinicans their 'national' dish.
The uncommon phenomenon of mutual acceptance and cultural exchange, called by some 'the Guadeloupe Model', has widely contributed to the rare harmony of the multiracial French West Indian communities. Interestingly, the negritude champion writer Aimé Césaire, who had Indian blood too, was keen on interacting with Indians both from Martinique and Tamil-Nadu.