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Vijay Chokal-Ingam claims that he posed as a black man while he applied to medical schools in 1998 because he believed he had a better chance of gaining acceptance
The older brother of comedienne Minday Kaling has controversially claimed he was only accepted into medical school in the late 1990s because he posed as a black man.
Writing on his blog, Almost Black, Vijay Chokal-Ingam says that he felt he had to change his appearance to get into the St. Louis University School of Medicine and heavily attacks affirmative action policies in the United States.
'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?' wrote Chokal-Ingam.
'I got into medical school because I said I was black. The funny thing is I'm not.'
Chokal-Ingam admits that his sister did not support him during his social experiment and specifically asked him not to do it.
He claims in 1998 he shaved his head, trimmed his 'long Indian eyelashes' and joined the Organization of Black Students during the process.
His change in appearance was 'so startling that my own fraternity brothers didn't recognize me'.
'Vijay the Indian-American frat boy became Jojo the African American Affirmative Action applicant to medical school,' he said, claiming that Jojo was the middle name he was born with.
Though his website, AlmostBlack.com, shows side-by-side qualifications and pictures of Chokal-Ingam as an Indian-American man (left) and a black man (right), he doesn't specify if he went through the same application process as an Inidan-American man as he did a black man
As an Indian-American with a GPA of 3.1, MCAT of 31 and a member of the South Asian Student Association, he didn't think he'd get into medical school, but with a change of appearance and switch of student organization, he thought he could get in to some of the top schools in the nation.
'I became a serious contender at some of the greatest medical schools in America, including Harvard, Wash U, UPenn, Case Western, and Columbia,' he said about the application process.
'In all, I interviewed at eleven prestigious medical schools in 9 major cities across America, while posing a black man,' he added.
Despite his startling claims, Chokal-Ingam fails to mention if he applied to the same schools at the same time as an Indian-American man.
He also does not seem to appear repentant about presumably taking a place at college that would otherwise have gone to an African-American.
When he was finally accepted to St. Louis University School of Medicine, he used the acceptance to claim he was only granted admission because he was black and used the situation as an example of what was 'wrong' with affirmative action.
Chokal-Ingam said that his sister, sitcom star and comedienne Mindy Kaling told him not to move forward with the book
Indeed, Chokal-Ingam admits that he did not even complete his medical degree and dropped out before he qualified as a doctor.
Chokal-Ingam also admits he found posing as a black person to be socially fascinating.
'Not everything worked out as planned,' he wrote on his website. 'Cops harassed me. Store clerks accused me of shoplifting. Women were either scared of me or couldn't keep their hands off me. What started as a devious ploy to gain admission to medical school turned into a twisted social experiment.'
Unsurprisingly, Chokal-Ingam has been at the end of a huge backlash following his contentious claims.
The Daily Beast claims that though his experience 'revealed inherent cultural bigotries that feed systematic racism', he didn't bring everything he could to the table.
'He chooses to sidestep, downplay, or flat-out ignore how the same racism that led to him being harassed by cops and store clerks keeps black applicants on the fringes of elite educational institutions for generations,' Stereo Williams wrote.
'It's easier for him to tap dance for the right wing as the brown man who 'gets it', while conveniently missing how ongoing racism makes affirmative action absolutely necessary,' he added.
And though he claims he became a serious contender at schools across the nation as a black man, he doesn't specify if he went through the application process as an American-Indian man.
'Chokal-Ingam seems to have assumed that he would've gotten nowhere as an Indian American applicant and dove head first into this poorly-conceived 'experiment' before determining otherwise,' Williams wrote.
And more so, Williams claims that Chokal-Ingam's experiment 'is insulting to what black people endure in this country, both institutionally and culturally'.
Williams claims: 'And as a person of color, it's irresponsible for him to be so invested in the idea of individual exceptionalism that he ignores structural inadequacies.
'Black people can't be as 'racist' as whites societally, Mr. Chokal-Ingam. You didn't spend your time applying to black colleges in the hopes of finding work as a doctor in black-owned and operated hospitals.
'And a major reason why you were in a position to be considered for entry into any white institution is because black people generations before you made that possible through sacrifice and hard work.
'The attempt to undermine their work for the sake of promoting false 'equality' is truly regrettable. But when you conduct social 'experiments' that cite C. Thomas Howell's Soul Man as an inspiration, it's obvious that you don't take these issues all that seriously.'
A spokesperson for Mindy Kaling was unavailable for comment.