Vijay Chokal-Ingam is the brother of actress and comedian Mindy Kaling, and in 1998, he wanted to go to medical school. With a 3.1 grade point average, however, he wasn’t a compelling candidate. He sent in his application and was rejected.
Then he decided to try another tack. IJ Review tells the story:
“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?”
He decided the best way to get into medical school with his underwhelming GPA was to be black.
He explains on his blog how he prepared:
“So, I shaved my head, trimmed my long Indian eyelashes, and applied to medical school as a black man. My change in appearance was so startling that my own fraternity brothers didn’t recognize me at first.
“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 9 years old.”
The ploy was successful. The young man was accepted into St. Louis School of Medicine.
Ultimately, Chokal-Ignam elected not to become a doctor. He has written a book about his experience, and he recently shared his feelings about affirmative action in a tweet:
University of Michigan professor Carl Cohen agrees. In a recent article, he characterized affirmative action as:
…damaging for blacks and other minorities….
The philosophical justification of democracy rests upon the conviction that all members of some community are equal. In a democracy any preference for a racial group is intolerable.
Affirmative action has many forms. It can be honorable and right. When it takes the form of outright preference, it is morally wrong and deeply unwise. If preference is what is meant by affirmative action, it should be scrapped entirely, for sure.
Instead, Cohen says, the country needs to provide the education, particularly early childhood education, that will make it possible for minority students to succeed on their own merits.