He faked being black, got into top med school, blasts Affirmative Action (VIDEO)
This Indian-America student got into one of the top med schools by faking he was black. He then blasted Affirmative Action. There is so much wrong with this story that is much deeper than his simplistic and dangerous assessment.
I use to hate Affirmative Action until I grew up, enlightened myself wanting fairness for all instead of the indoctrination of a prejudice society.
I went to the University of Texas at Austin, a Black Latino Caribbean man in a sea of white. I didn’t need Affirmative Action. After all, I graduated third in my High School class. I spent one year on a music scholarship that I got from Blinn College to start my Engineering career. Hey, you go wherever you can optimize the receipt of funds. I left after my first year of a two-year scholarship, worked three jobs in the summer, and headed to Austin. To be clear, I did very well at Blinn College as well.
The prose is not about patting myself on the back. It is about being privileged to have grown up outside of the United States in an environment, which while not perfect, afforded me the wherewithal to be damn good at what I do because of parenting, great educators, and a very caring society. Yes, it took a village. And while we were not cosmopolitan with all the excesses of America, we were well grounded, and most of our community who came over here were well rounded. They handled the headwinds of racism and denied opportunities much better than the natives. Why? — because we had deep roots before we left our communities.
Most foreigners that come to the United States despite what our intellect lacking president says come to this country with skills they bring from their countries of origin however menial, but very useful to America.
Vijay Jojo Chokal-Ingam, claims he got into medical school by pretending to be a black man. He believes that universities discriminate against Asian-Americans (in his case read Indian-Americans). Ironically, he seems to level his ire on blacks because as he sees it, his 3.1 GPA was too low for him to get in as an Indian-American. But it was enough for him to get in as a black man. Now he thinks President Trump will “end affirmative action like Lincoln ended slavery.”
He assumed that Affirmative Action was necessary for him to go to school and then blasts it?
Chokal-Ingam, like many Republicans, and for that matter, many Americans tend to believe that “Affirmative Action” is a form of racism. Here is a quick story.
When I got out of college, after the company that hired me as an oil well logging engineer botched my employment because of a steel rod on my spine, they offered me a job they advertised required a Masters in Computer Science. While in college, I taught myself programming machine code, assembly language, many high-level languages, and software design. Suffice it to say; I was qualified for the job more so than most. The female manager who offered me the job saw that as well as my work ethic (many times during college, I work full time with a full load). I’ve always believed her personal experience, and the hoops she had to go through made her hire me just like the breaks ‘others’ receive on a daily basis to prove themselves.
What was shocking was what the vice president of the division told me. He pulled me into the office and with a sneer said. “She likes you and wants to give you a try,” he said as I remember as if it were yesterday. “You have six months, and if you don’t make it, I do not want to hear a damn thing about Affirmative Action. You hear?”
I replied that I understood. I completed the six-month project in two months. My manager made sure to tell me early on that there was no damn probation to worry about any longer. Many times I wonder if this woman with whom I have lost contact even realized the impact she had on me.
I tell these stories for a degree of personalization. I am not speaking in some abstract form. As a black man, for people of color in this society, we know some things are willfully invisible to many. For years I hated Affirmative Action. My experience in corporate America led me to believe that people thought, even with my accomplishments, I got there because of it. But I did not. Or did I?
I argued with friends day in and day out about the ills of Affirmative Action until a bulb went off in my head. In fact, one has nothing to do with the other. I got into the company and many others because of Affirmative Action. America is still a society where pigmentation alone makes it harder for those with a darker hue to succeed in many fields and the only way to bust that is to create some method to open the doors.
It is evident, that absent the purposely misinforming book, The Bell Curve by Charles A. Murray and Richard Herrnstein, that in the aggregate all races or ethnic groups given the same conditions will perform similarly. If one believes that reality, then it is clear that many externalities affect people of color that I now think justifies normalization. As an example, the designers of SATs, I think without malice, have many questions that assume living in a typically white American household. For those who cannot afford a plethora of practice tests to mitigate that, of course, their scores will reflect that. I have seen particular questions that required algebra that I have gotten wrong just because of not understanding what is common to many here in America.
The reality is that the totality of one’s experience is what ultimately makes a society. And in fact is the only way we can end Affirmative Action in the future. Until we have a normalization of the entire society, some will be left behind for no fault of their own even as they have the same capacity to succeed given the opportunity.
Chokal-Ingam complained that he could not get into school as an Indian-American with a 3.1 GPA but a black person could. And so he got into med school faking that he was a black person. I will not argue that fact. Ironically, pigment-ally he is a black person. So when not deluded from the fact that he defines himself as Asian/Indian which he assumes gives him a gradation of better, he probably suffers the same degradation of which black men must endure from just being.
Vijay Jojo Chokal-Ingam did beat the system. But make no mistake, his 3.1 GPA is no absolute number. It is by no means the same as a 3.1 GPA from someone with an upbringing with struggle. My 3.1 is not the same as a 3,1 from someone who did not have the support structures I had. And that is why Universities look at the entire picture, and yes, race must play a part in it until we become a society where race does not have the corrosive effect on the humanity and outcomes for many.
Originally published at EgbertoWillies.com.