“I Was Raised a Buddhist”: Tiger Woods, Race, and Asian-ness

in Sociology of Sport Journal

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Stanley ThangarajCity College of New York

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Scholarly articles on Tiger Woods have attended to his mixed-race body through blackness and the refusal of his Asian heritage and identity. His Asian-ness was not part of the early marketing of his iconicity. In this paper, I looks at how Tiger Woods responded to the news of his marital affairs through a deployment of Buddhism. In particular, I theorize Asian/Asian American masculinity that engages with religion, Asia, Asian-ness, and Asian America to complicate theories of race, gender, and sexuality. Through the invocation of Buddhism, Tiger Woods offers a different racial heteronormativity that is legible in the nation and larger marketplace. In the process, he aligns with Asian and Asian American respectability as a way to temper blackness; it is an Asian and Asian American identity grounded in the rise of Asian capital and reconfigurations of both Asian and Asian American masculinity. Therefore, through Asian-ness, Woods offers an assemblage of religion, race, gender, and sexuality that silences and erases blackness.

The author (sthangaraj@ccny.cuny.edu) is an assistant professor of anthropology, gender studies, and international studies at the City College of New York, New York, NY, USA.

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