Almost Black: The True Story of How I Got into Medical School by Pretending to Be Black (Unabridged)
by Vijay Jojo Chokal-Ingam & Matthew Scott Hansen
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I got into medical school by saying I was black. I lied. Honestly, I am about as black as my sister Mindy Kaling. Once upon a time, I was an ethically challenged, hard-partying Indian-American frat boy enjoying my third year of college. That is until I realized I didn't have the grades or test scores to get into medical school. Legitimately. Still, I was determined to be a doctor and discovered that affirmative action provided a loophole that might help. The only problem? I wasn't a minority. So I became one. I shaved my head, trimmed my long Indian eyelashes, and applied as an African American. Not even my own frat brothers recognized me. I joined the Organization of Black Students and used my middle name, Jojo. Vijay, the Indian American frat boy, became Jojo, the African American affirmative action applicant. Not everything went as planned. During a med school interview, an African American doctor angrily confronted me for not being black. Cops harassed me. Store clerks accused me of shoplifting. Women were either scared of me or found my bald black dude look sexually mesmerizing. What started as a scam to get into med school turned into a twisted social experiment, teaching me lessons I would never have learned in the classroom. I became a serious contender at some of America's greatest schools, including Harvard University, Washington University, University of Pennsylvania, Case Western Reserve University, George Washington University, University of Pittsburgh, Yale University, University of Rochester, University of Nebraska Omaha, and Columbia University. I interviewed at 11 schools while posing as a black man. After all that, I finally got accepted into medical school.