What he did was wrong and dumb.
Image via Chokal-Ingam's website, Almost Black.
On a list of things you should never, ever do, pretending to be a black person to get into college ranks pretty high on the list. Mindy Kaling’s brother, Vijay Chokal-Ingam, who appears to have no notable credit to his name besides being Mindy Kaling’s brother, did exactly that, and in a dubious effort to discredit affirmative action programs, he’s going to write about it in his forthcoming book, Almost Black (or, as I will heretofore refer to it, Academic Blackface).
Chokal-Ingam, who is Mindy Kaling’s brother, claims that as a B-average undergraduate student at the University of Chicago, all he had to do was shave his head, trim his eyelashes, and apply to med school as a black man to see letters from the “greatest medical schools in America” roll in, urging him to apply to their programs. “My change in appearance was so startling that my own fraternity brothers didn’t recognize me at first,” he wrote on his blog. “I even joined the Organization of Black Students and started using my embarrassing middle name that I had hidden from all of my friends since I was a [sic] 9 years old.”
To substantiate his claim that all he had to do was be black to get into medical school, Chokal-Ingam (Mindy Kaling’s brother) posted scans of all the letters he recieved from these schools—and yeah, he did get plenty of letters inviting him to apply as a “minority student” or to join the “diverse” student body from lots of impressive schools. These letters comprise the bulk of the “proof” to back up his claim that affrimative action programs are racist because they allow schools to make decisions based on race rather than merit.
But after applying to 20 medical schools, Chokal-Ingam, brother of Mindy Kaling, only got into a grand total of ONE mediocre medical school—St. Louis University.
I repeat: Mindy Kaling’s brother, after applying to medical schools as a black man with a 3.1 GPA, only got one real offer letter.
And yet he continues to insist that affirmative action gave him something of an upper hand that he didn’t have as an Indian-American. “Racism is not the answer,” he told the New York Post. “It also promotes negative stereotypes about the competency of minority Americans by making it seem like they need special treatment.”
But for someone who is so passionate in his insistence that people shouldn’t recieve “special treatment” because of who they are, Chokal-Ingam doesn’t mind wasting breath reminding people that he’s Mindy Kaling’s brother—on his Twitter profile, on his website bio, in his interviews with press. Because if he weren’t Mindy Kaling’s brother, he’d just be another irrelevant voice bloviating his unsolicited opinions into the ether. As it stands, however, we should expect to see his talking head on the cable news TV circuit for at least a couple of days before the press finds another manufactured controversy on which to report.