The actress Mindy Kaling’s brother Vijay Jojo Chokalingam was determined to get into med school. The only problem was that he had a 3.1 GPA and a 31 MCAT score, which is terrible…for an Indian or Asian applicant. On the other hand, he had heard rumors that affirmative action lowered the bar for people of other races. So he took the old advice: if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. He joined ’em by “becoming” black: he shaved his head and became a member of the Organization of Black Students. He got into med school, studied for two years, and then abandoned medicine. He reports that while it was easy to get into med school as a black man, he also dealt with other issues as well:
Not everything worked out as planned. Cops harassed me. Store clerks accused me of shoplifting. Women were either scared of me or couldn’t keep their hands off me. What started as a devious ploy to gain admission to medical school turned into twisted social experiment.
This is a bit like Black Like Me, only rather than tanning under a UV lamp, Vijay used his God-given dark skin to pull one over on admissions officers. As I mentioned before, I know someone who did something similar: a white kid born in South Africa claimed he was African American and got into Harvard. If you’re against affirmative racism, it’s a good way to stick it to the Man.
It also led me to think that perhaps we should think more about how race can be fluid. Some Asians are denying their heritage to get past affirmative racism in college admissions. Some actually change their names. So if Asians can change their names to become White and avoid affirmative racism, and if Vijay can become Black in order to avoid affirmative racism, is it possible for black people to become Indian in order to avoid police racism?
I’m joking, of course. Black people do endure real police racism, as evident from the Ferguson e-mails. I don’t think they should have to become Indian to be treated with respect. But increased admissions requirements for Asians is also a form of racism, and Asians shouldn’t have to become non-Asian to also be treated with respect.
Also, let’s dispense with the nonsense that affirmative action doesn’t lower the standards for “underrepresented” minorities, or that it benefits the poor and downtrodden. Vijay and Jojo are the same person. And he’s rich.
(Thanks for the article, GuitarDude.)