Vijay Chokal-Ingam, brother to actress Mindy Kaling, is using his new book to make claims that he was admitted to medical school after he posed as a black man.
In his book titled “Almost Black,” Chokal-Ingam said he pretended to be a black man by shaving his head to get rid of his straight hair, trimming his “long Indian eyelashes,” and referring to himself by his middle name, “Jojo,” in an effort to convince the world he was black. In his application, he placed special emphasis on his time spent in Africa where his family lived before moving to the United States. He said he did all this under the belief that medical schools typically practiced affirmative action policies that favor black students over other ethnicities during the application process.
Chokal-Ingam said he never told a single lie on any applications, with the exception of race. He was accepted to St. Louis University in 1999 with a grade point average of 3.1. He attended the school, eventually dropping out when he decided to no longer pursue the field of medicine.
He said he is currently looking for a publisher for his book that he plans to use to accuse US educational institutions of discrimination through affirmative action, reports Max Ehrenfreund for The Washington Post.
“Racism is not the answer,” Chokalingam said, referring to affirmative action. “It also promotes negative stereotypes about the competency of minority Americans by making it seem like they need special treatment.”
His book has already received criticism from all sides, with The Daily Beast referring to it as “insulting to what black people endure in this country, both institutionally and culturally,” while others have used social media such as Twitter to combat his claims, writes Michael Nguyen for NBC News.
The Supreme Court is currently set to hear such an affirmative action admissions case for the second time, in which Abigail Fisher argues she was denied admission to the University of Texas because she is white.
The first time the case was heard the court sided with the university, saying the school had a history of using racial preferences on a limited basis. The school typically accepts the top 10% of most high school classes in the state, although in order to round out the freshman class each year, race is taken into consideration.
Similar cases are pending with the Supreme Court concerning other schools including Harvard University and the University of North Carolina.
Meanwhile, the University of Minnesota has announced they will be leaving ethnicity out of campus crime alerts, unless “there is sufficient detail that would help identify a specific individual or group.”