Colonization, Displacement and the Indo-Caribbean Identity

“Identity” expresses my feelings of being twice displaced from my country of origin, India. I have always felt disconnected from and longed to understand more of my Indian heritage. I was born in Canada to Indo-Guyanese immigrants, and there were certain aspects of the Indian culture that I just couldn’t grasp. For me, this is a reflection on the history of colonization in the Caribbean and my attempt to create a true identity for myself.

[Read Related: Indo Caribbean Poet Chandra Persaud Talks Representation and History]


Brown skin, black hair, a curvy body
English first name, Indian last name
“West Indian” – is that my culture?
Or is it a term Christopher Columbus coined?
Speak no other language
Twice displaced
Country of origin?
Don’t even known anymore
Supposed to be India
but I don’t speak Hindi
Colonization, its impact on the world
Hybrid culture? No.
I wish we never left
It would be so much easier
They say you have to know where you’re from to know where you’re going.
I still don’t know where I am going.
Perhaps I just need to define myself.

[Read Related: Pain in Paradise: Indo Caribbean Indentureship]

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By Sharleen Singh

Sharleen Singh is a BG of Indo-Caribbean descent. She was born in Toronto, Canada. She earned a diploma from George … Read more ›