Student poses as black, “beats” affirmative action… but his “social experiment” fails

Illustration by Emily Ratkewicz
Illustration by Emily Ratkewicz

Comedian Mindy Kaling’s brother, Vijay Chokalingam, recently revealed that he pretended to be black to get into medical school.

Chokalingam said St. Louis University (SLU) Medical School accepted him in 1999 after he changed his race from Asian Indian to Black on his application, despite that he had a GPA and test scores below the university’s standards.

He believes the experience proves affirmative action is discriminatory and doesn’t judge based on merit. However, his “social experiment” holds no substantial evidence—firstly because he never applied to SLU as his own race to compare results.

Affirmative action levels the playing field for applicants who might not otherwise receive equal consideration—it doesn’t give out “charity education” to people who “don’t work hard enough,” as Chokalingam implies.

If Chokalingam assumes appropriating a black identity gives him authority to discredit based on biased findings a program that has benefited many black and other minority applicants, he’s missing the point.

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