Desi Hoop Dreams By Stan Thangaraj

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Stan Thangaraj writes his novel Desi Hoop Dreams with an intention to address how important intersectional identities are to the moral of the novel. The moral of the novel is that many South Asian men are expressing their masculinity through basketball, to disprove the stereotypes placed on them by society. Three specific intersectional identities deserve emphasis in making this argument; race (South Asian), religion, and sexuality (heterosexual). Although, these identities were not only displayed on the basketball court, the conception of basketball itself placed importance on these identities. Throughout the novel, Thangaraj addressed how and why these identities are being expressed from the South Asian basketball players. Throughout the …show more content…

In the case of the desi players, many expressed their religious identity and masculinity by having tattoos. Depending on which religion the players practiced, the actual tattoo represented a form of toughness itself. For example, “Certain Sikh players wear religiously influenced tattoos that mark them explicitly as tough Sikh men. The iconic marker of Sikh masculinity is directly related to a Sikh military.” (Thangaraj, 98) There were also cases where the players used tattoos to represent the “toughness” or “coolness” attributes that came with them. Within the black culture, mainly hip hop culture, tattoos can sometimes represent how tough a person is; and, many of the players had tattoos for this reason alone. Religious identities enabled the players to form different teams; which then represented the team’s masculinity. For instance, some teams had players a group of players with the same name that stood for a form of masculinity, such as the Chicago Sher team. Religion was not the only influence on team names, hip hop culture also influenced team …show more content…

This team was inspired by the hip-hop culture of the South, and showed just how different they were from other teams; one factor being how they expressed their sexuality. Within hip-hop culture, being a womanizer or basically “hooking up” with many women shows how “manly” you are; this idea is not only upheld in hip-hop culture, but American culture in general. Since this is the case, many South Asian teams, such as the Outkasts, followed and praised the hip hop culture. One member in Outkasts that Thangaraj focused on was Mustafa. Mustafa and his teammates would frequent dance clubs and attempt to get the numbers of many women or just talk with as many women as they could to show their masculinity. Also, since Asian- Americans are viewed as being asexual or not sexually attractive at all, many of the players use this method to show that they were sexually attracted to women and not “nerds”. Thangaraj stated, “South Asian American men practice toughness and explicitly express heterosexual desires to shed the nerd identity.” (Thangaraj,

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