Vijay Chokalingam, the brother of 'Mindy Project' star Mindy Kaling, changed his identity in 1999 to take advantage of affirmative action policies.
The Jojo Project. (via almostblack.com)
There are a lot of controversial stories about race that come to our attention, but this has to be one of the weirdest. For one thing, it has to do with the complex issue of academic admissions and affirmative action. Furthermore, it's about someone pulling a complicated and ethically ambiguous con. Also, the individual involved is trying to profit off of it by writing a book. And finally, his sister is a celebrity. It sounds like a contrived sitcom premise, which is ironic. Good sitcom writing runs in the family.
Vijay Chokalingam is an author, public speaker, and resume coach from Cambridge, Massachusetts. His parents were Indian immigrants from Nigeria. His sister, born Vera Chokalingam, is better known as actor/writer Mindy Kaling, star and creator of The Mindy Project, as well as a former cast member and writer on The Office.
Can you see the resemblance? (Getty, almostblack.com)
Back in the late 90s, Vijay was a student and self-described frat boy about to graduate from the University of Chicago. He dreamed of going to medical school, but due to his love for partying, lacked the grades or MCAT scores to get into any of the schools of his choice. That's when he hit on a devious scheme. In his own words:
In my junior year of college, I realized that I didn't have the grades or test scores to get into medical school, at least not as an Indian-American.
Still, 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?
So, I shaved my head, trimmed my long Indian eyelashes, and applied to medical school as a black man.