The older brother of actress Mindy Kaling has revealed after struggling to pursue his dream of becoming a doctor, he was finally accepted into medical school after he lied about his race to appear black during the admissions process.
Vijay Chokal-Ingam, an Indian-American, gave himself a buzz cut, and trimmed what he describes as his “long Indian eyelashes” fifteen years ago, in order to look more African-American. He then began identifying himself as “black” on medical school applications.
“In my junior year of college, I realized that I didn’t have the grades or test scores to get into medical school, at least not as an Indian-American,” he now says. “Still, I was determined to become a doctor and I knew that admission standards for certain minorities under affirmative action were, let’s say… less stringent?
Vijay became Jojo, and walked away from the South Asian Student Association, and instead aligned himself with the Organization of Black Students.
The Indian-American claims he soon found himself interviewing at both Harvard and Columbia, and was put on waiting lists at other reputable schools.
Chokal-Ingam is authoring a new memoir, titled Almost Black: The True Story of an Indian American Who Got Into Medical School Posing as an African American. He has posted details of his successful swindle on his website.
Despite an underwhelming 3.1 GPA, new doors were opened for him, just by a change of race, he claims.
The now 38-year-old says he is authoring the book because: “My experiences applying to medical school as a black man impressed on me the injustice created by the system of legalized racism called affirmative action. This system destroys the dreams of millions of Indian-American, Asian American, and white applicants for employment and higher education.”
Chokal-Ingam believes Affirmative Action creates negative stereotypes about the academic abilities and professional skills of African-American and Hispanic professionals, who “don’t need special assistance in order to compete with other minority groups.”
He ended up dropping out of St. Louis University Medical School two years after his admission, but eventually graduated from UCLA as an Indian-American.
“My experiences at UCLA showed me that Affirmative Action is not required,” he said.
Chokal-Ingam told the New York Post he authored the book after he was informed his alma mater is considering strengthening its affirmative-action admissions policies.
“I disclosed that I didn’t receive financial aid from the University of Chicago, and that I had a nice car,” he said. “I was the campus rich kid, let’s just put it on the table. And yet they considered me an affirmative-action applicant.”
His sister, Mindy Kaling is best known for her roles on The Mindy Project, The Office, This is the End and The 40-Year-Old Virgin.
He told the Post, “I love my sister to death.” The two are reportedly at odds over his upcoming book. “She says this will bring shame on the family,” he said.
A representative for Kaling told Us Weekly Monday: “Mindy has been estranged from her brother for years. She was not aware of his decision to apply to medical school under a different name and race.”
“I got into medical school because I said I was black,” he said in his blog. “The funny thing is I’m not. My plan actually worked. Lucky for you, I never became a doctor.”
Chokal-Ingam remains active on Twitter, sharing his opinions of Affirmative Action policies:
Great discussion of Affirmative Action why aa racism survives: simple explanation – blacks are as racist as whites http://t.co/guUtsERUUG
— Vijay Chokal-Ingam (@VijayIngam) April 3, 2015
Would you rather accept racism or defy those who want to discriminate against you? I chose the latter and applied to medical school as black
— Vijay Chokal-Ingam (@VijayIngam) April 4, 2015
"more than 80% of blacks & two-thirds of Hispanics, have received at least moderately large admissions preferences." http://t.co/oEGzgBtdHU
— Vijay Chokal-Ingam (@VijayIngam) April 6, 2015
Photo Credit: Twitter/@