In 2015, Indian-American Vijay Chokal-Ingam, brother of actress Mindy Kaling, went public with his story of posing as a black man to benefit from race-conscious admissions policies at medical schools. He claimed in a CNN story that affirmative action “destroys the dreams of millions of Indian-American, Asian-American, and white applicants for employment and higher education.”
Chokal-Ingam applied to 14 schools and was admitted to just one, St. Louis University. He only applied using his false “black” identity, and although he never applied as an Indian-American, he assumes that he got into St. Louis University because he was “black.”
11 thoughts on “Passing as Black”
Sure a revisionist when he hyphenates the name Chokal-Ingam as against Choka-Lingam.
We have few like that here to in SL, Nava.. (eg Navaratnam) has become Knower.
and the famous Ondaatje possibly from Undatchi.
I have often been mistaken for a Jamaican and Black, specially in the early 90’s.
One Egyptian guy warned that I should not go to Egypt as I might get arrested.
Apparently those against the govt are dark skinned types!!.
How many know (Black) Sambo is of South Indian origin.
Sambo = something like Sambasivam
I saw Michael Ondaatje because he got honoured yesterday (English patient etc) but he doesn’t seem desi at all
Ondaaatje has written a novel about Sri Lanka’s civil war called “Anil’s Ghost”.
As a side note, I think this Booker List was severely messed up since the best novel of the 1980s was clearly “Midnight’s Children”. I mean it won “the Best of the Booker” or something and this time it wasn’t even on the list. Rushdie was robbed. “The English Patient” is a good novel too but it can’t even be put on the same level as “Midnight’s Children”.
Really is Midnight’s Children all that good?
It is THE novel about Partition and the Emergency. The whole history of modern India seen through Saleem Sinai’s eyes. It is truly Rushdie’s masterpiece.
I read it a long time ago. Will have to re-read it again one of these days.
I read it in 1990 at the height of protests by British Muslims. I went to Croydon public library and asked for it. They produced it from safe keeping and produced it.
Are you sure you’re not thinking of “The Satanic Verses”?
@Kabir you’re right.
His Brother Christopher Ondaatje now Sir is even less Desi, not even close to SL norm.
When asked by some Brit Governor what they were, the Ondaatje ancestor is supposed to have said “God only knows”
Sri Lankans are quite the random maters, to quote Razib.
My relatives out in Malaysia (just 2 gens of mixing),
Rena says she is a natural blond.
The Ondaatjes were grandees in Ceylon, now Sri Lanka, since the 17th century. In their veins, as in many Ceylon families, ran a mixture of Sinhalese, Tamil, Dutch and British blood going back many generations. As Michael Ondaatje has written, describing his own family, a friend of his father’s ‘summed up the situation for most of them when he was asked by one of the British governors what his nationality was: “God alone knows, Your Excellency.” ‘ Their grandfather, Philip Francis Ondaatje, a brilliant, domineering and unscrupulous lawyer, had made them rich, buying up land from peasant farmers in the Ceylon highlands and selling it on to the English tea-planters.
Christopher’s father, Mervyn, although a charismatic man himself, remained in awe of his own frightening, teeth-grinding father, who bullied him. Mervyn was driven into spectacular deceit, gambling, wild bravado and drinking gin and tonics, from which he never escaped. He held up trains with revolvers and brought entire public processions to a halt in Kandy by throwing himself in an alcoholic frenzy in front of the leading elephant. ‘A famous story,’ Ondaatje says, not smiling.
“Shamsie said Ondaatje’s historical novel received the most votes, with nearly 9,000 votes cast by the public. Previous “Best of Bookers” surveys – carried out for the award’s 25th and 40th anniversaries – were both won by Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children.
Shamsie described The English Patient as the sort of book that “gets under your skin and insists you return to it time and again, always yielding a new surprise or delight”.
“Few novels really deserve the praise: transformative. This one does,” said Shamsie. “It moves seamlessly between the epic and the intimate – one moment you’re in looking at the vast sweep of the desert, and the next moment watching a nurse place a piece of plum in a patient’s mouth … It’s intricately and rewardingly structured, beautifully written, with great humanity written into every page.”
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