Family relationships are always complicated, and I have a feeling Mindy Kaling is experiencing that feeling hardcore lately thanks to a little experiment her brother, Vijay Chokal-Ingam, conducted while attempting to get into college. Yep, according to his blog, Almost Black, Mindy Kaling's brother pretended to be black to get into med school, and it worked. As Chokal-Ingam tells it, his GPA and MCAT scores weren't high enough to secure him entrance into the schools of his choice as an Indian-American man, so instead, he decided to see what would happen if he applied as a black man.
So what did happen? He got interviews at 11 different medical schools, and now, he's writing a book about his experiment. If you're already shaking your head that this even happened, don't worry, it's not just you. I think it's ridiculous, and apparently, so does his famous sister.
On his blog, Chokal-Ingam wrote that all it took was a shaved head and changing his name to Jojo (which is actually his middle name) to secure him the acceptance letters he was looking for. He joined the Organization of Black Students, and rationalized his lies as a way of blowing this whole crazy affirmative action thing wide open — you know, because it's not like we need the silly concept affirmative action anymore or anything. The United States is totally free of all racism and everyone is on a level playing field, right? And in case you haven't picked up on it, I'm being 100 percent sarcastic right now.
Chokal-Ingam also added on his website, "My plan actually worked. Lucky for you, I never became a doctor."
So what does Kaling think of all of this? In the FAQ of his site, Chokal-Ingam writes this about his family's reaction to his experiment:
My sister Mindy Kaling (Vera Mindy Chokalingam), of The Mindy Project and Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, strongly disapproves of my book. She actually said, “This book will bring shame on our family.” The rest of my family does not agree with the book. Still, they respect my right to make my own decisions with my career.
If it's true that this is Kaling's opinion of her brother's anti-affirmative action stance, it wouldn't be surprising — especially if he's planning on writing an entire book about it. It's a huge victory for minorities and women that Kaling grew up to be a successful comedian who created, writes, and stars in her own TV show. The real bummer here is the fact that Chokal-Ingham seems to be doing the opposite of what Kaling's trying to do. As an Indian-American woman starring in her own show, she's creating real change, and her brother's experiment leads me to believe that he doesn't believe that kind of change is as necessary as it really is.
And what's more, Kaling makes it a habit not to comment on diversity, because as she says, she's not an outsider. As Kaling is working to tear down the walls between races, her brother seems to be coming behind her and putting those walls right back up.
Kaling's rep released a statement to The Mirror explaining her currently relationship with her brother which reads, "Mindy has been estranged from her brother for years. She was not aware of his decision to apply to medical school under a different name and race."
So yeah, I'll be over here, still shaking my head at Chokal-Ingam and crossing all my fingers and all my toes that his book is met with criticism more than anything else and that there are still many people in the world who agree that affirmative action is important, and that we shouldn't abuse it to get into med school by pretending to be another race. Inequality is still very much a thing in America, and stopping the fight against it now would be incredibly premature.
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