The True Story of How I Got Into Medical School By Pretending to Be Black
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 (The Office / The Mindy Project).
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 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 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 that taught me lessons I would never have learned in the classroom.
I became a serious contender at some of America’s greatest schools, including Harvard, Wash U, UPenn, Case Western, and Columbia. I interviewed at 11 schools while posing as a black man. After all that, I finally got accepted into medical school.
Before I finished this book, I stirred a hornet’s nest by telling my story. It has been featured in more than 100 media outlets, including CNN, NBC, TIME, FOX, and Huffington Post. Many loved it, but not everyone approved of what I did. My college classmate Tucker Max (I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell) disapproved. My sister Mindy Kaling furiously declared, “This book will bring shame on our family!”
I disagree but I'll let you be the judge.