The illusion of diversity

Michael Smerconish interviews Vijay Jojo Chokalingam, a dark-skinned man of (Asian) Indian descent who got admitted to medical school by pretending to be black. Despite carrying what he calls a pitiful 3.1 grade point average (and that is quite low given today’s grade inflation), he made the waiting list at two of the five most highly rated med schools in the country and was admitted to a school where the average GPA is 3.7.

Medical schools require interviews. You can’t just check a box. So Chokalingam shaved his head and trimmed his eyelashes to make sure he looked black, rather than Indian. He also applied as Jojo, rather than Vijay.

Chokalingam tells the story in his book, Almost Black.

In my view, race-based preferences are as much about the illusion of diversity as they are about diversity itself. Thus, it seems appropriate that this applicant, having created the illusion of being black, succeeded in the admissions process.

If Chokalingam had remained clean-shaven and eyelash trimmed throughout his time at med school (apparently, he dropped out at some point), I doubt the institution would have cared much what his race or ethnicity is.

NOTE: Chokalingam is the brother of comedian Mindy Kaling, whose name may be familiar to some of our readers.

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