The brother of Mindy Kaling, star of the popular FOX series The Mindy Project, has revealed that he once pretended he was of African-American origin in order to gain acceptance into medical school. The revelation comes in the form of a book that Vijay Chokalingam, 38, has penned in order to tell his story regarding taking advantage of what he refers to as “positive discrimination” policies in order to better further one’s advancement in life. This book is entitled Almost Black.
Between 1998 and 1999, Chokalingam (real name Vera Mindy) says that he went through a “transformation” of sorts in order to apply to prestigious medical schools as a black man, because he believed that he would not be accepted under his true race. In order to achieve this appearance, the man says that he shaved his head and trimmed his eyelashes, along with making his skin appear lighter through various forms of makeup.
When his desired look was completed, he then applied to various institutions while giving officials the information that he was African-American. On the forms, the man went by his middle name, JoJo (his parents are said to have named him this due to inspiration from the famous African-American basketball player Jojo White.) Chokalingham is insistent that these were the only aspects of his life he lied about on the forms, and that everything else he told admissions about himself was 100 percent true. In order to better convince those involved that he was, indeed, African-American, the former medical student says that he made sure to emphasize the fact that he had spent time in Nigeria as a child.
The book then details his consideration by a few of the schools he applied, including Harvard, Columbia and Pennsylvania. His ultimate acceptance came from Missouri’s St. Louis University, which he attended for a while before choosing to drop out in favor of another career path (this path ended up being, somewhat ironically, a resume writer and grad school application consultant.)
Chokalingham admits that his reasoning behind committing this act of fraud (as many are referring to it as) was related to the fact that he had a lower GPA (3.1) than most schools would find acceptable for this kind of study. However, he believed that many institutions were practicing “affirmative action” and showing favoritism to those with an African-America background. Concerned with not receiving admission to his desired institution merely based on the aforementioned “positive discrimination” he felt was being done by post-secondary learning environments, Chokalingham decided to put his “theory” to the test and apply to his chosen places as an African-American individual.
Although the man was adamant that he would have a higher chance of acceptance should he pretend to not be his true race, there is not yet any evidence that he actually applied to said schools as his true self and was rejected. Right now, it appears as though Chokalingham merely went with his gut instinct and launched the aforementioned plan to make sure he had a greater chance of being admitted, rather than risking rejection from the institutions he wanted to study at.
By Rebecca Grace
Photo by Kristin Dos Santos – Flickr License