Comedian Mindy Kaling said her brother would bring shame on their family by writing that he had pretended to be black to gain admission to medical school.
Vijay Chokalingam, the sitcom star’s older brother, is writing a book to show that affirmative action is discriminatory based on his claims that he changed his appearance in 1998 and joined black student organizations to boost his chances of becoming a doctor.
“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?” Chokalingam says on his website.
The Indian-American said he shaved his head, trimmed his long eyelashes, and called himself “Jojo.”
Chokalingam was eventually accepted into the St. Louis University School of Medicine, but he claims that as a black applicant he “became a serious contender” for acceptance into medical school at Columbia, Harvard, and Pennsylvania.
However, his proof of those claims appear to be form letters sent to students after taking standardized tests or attending college fairs.
Chokalingam washed out of medical school after two years, although he eventually earned an MBA from UCLA’s Anderson School.
Although he does not believe that affirmative action is needed to help black students overcome instances of institutional racism, Chokalingam said he experienced racism firsthand while posing as black.
“Cops harassed me. Store clerks accused me of shoplifting. Women were either scared of me or couldn’t keep their hands off me,” he claims. “What started as a devious ploy to gain admission to medical school turned into a twisted social experiment.”
Chokalingam said he has spoken to his sister about the ruse and his planned book, and he said the actress told him it would “bring shame on the family.”