Actress/comedienne Mindy Kaling is apparently putting some distance between herself and older brother Vijay Chokal-Ingam who claims he pretended to be African-American to gain admission to medical school.
Kaling, formerly of The Office, is the creator and star of The Mindy Project sitcom on the Fox television network.
Both siblings live in Los Angeles.
On his Almost Black website (the title of a forthcoming memoir about the medical school application process), the self-described hard-partying college frat boy admits that he wanted to become a doctor even though he lacked the top grades and test scores which were a prerequisite for the extremely competitive field. He ultimately decided to apply by identifying his race as black on the 1999 AMCAS application because in his words “I knew that admission standards for certain minorities under affirmative action were, let’s say… less stringent?”
To implement his plan, Chokal-Ingam, among other things, altered his appearance by shaving his head and started going by Jojo, his seldom-used middle name, rather than Vijay.
Ingam, who received his undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago, maintains that he subsequently interviewed at 11 prestigious U.S. medical schools and was ultimately admitted to the St. Louis University School of Medicine (it’s not clear if any other school accepted him).
He dropped out after two years, however, and later went on to earn an MBA from UCLA.
Chokal-Ingam has become an outspoken foe of race-based affirmative action which he considers a form of legalized racism.
“I got into medical school because I said I was black. The funny thing is I’m not… My plan actually worked. Lucky for you, I never became a doctor,” the website summarizes.
On Facebook, Vijay Chokal-Ingam, 38, writes that “Let me clear about one thing. I never lied about anything on my application, except my race. Everything else on my application can be verified as correct. I didn’t even claim that I was ‘disadvantaged.'”
Mindy Kaling has yet to comment on her popular Twitter feed about the controversy or the subsequent social media blowback. A rep for the star told the New York Daily News and other media outlets, however, that “Mindy has been estranged from her brother for years. She was not aware of his decision to apply to medical school under a different name and race.”
A couple of days ago, Chokal-Ingam told the New York Post that “I love my sister to death.” As far as the revelation about gaming the medical school system when he was a younger man, “she says this will bring shame on the family,” he admitted. On the Almost Black website, he added that “The rest of my family does not agree with the book. Still, they respect my right to make my own decisions with my career.”
[Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images Entertainment]