The apps “Make Me Asian” and “Make Me Indian” play to the racial stereotypes that define some people groups. These apps digitally manipulate uploaded photos to “make yourself look Asian by changing the shape of your eyes and wearing a Fu Manchu mustache and rice paddy hat.” The Indian version “makes you a Native American with brown skin, war paint and a feather headband.” Some people feel these apps are racist and should be banned from Google Play.
Over on the Google Play the description of the “Make Me Asian” app created by user KimberyDeiss says the app is all about innocent fun:
“Have you ever wondered to present himself as a person of another nationality? You can imagine, for example, Chinese or Japanese? No? Then immediately take your phone and download it amazing Android-application called «Make me Asian». This is just a fun app lets you indulge you and your friends! You can for a few seconds to make himself a Chinese, Japanese, Korean or any other Asians!”
The author of the app is apparently not targeting Indians and Asians specifically. There’s also the option to “Make Me Fat” or “Make Me Bald.” Of course, Russians and the Irish are also in the comedic crossfires of these types of apps, with each augmenting photos with stereotypical trademarks in a humorous fashion.
The online campaign 18 Million Rising, named after the number of Asian-Americans in the United States, claims these apps are racist and that Google should remove them from their store:
“These racist and offensive portrayals of Asians and Native Americans perpetuate damaging racial stereotypes and should not be distributed on the Google play store.”
Change.org has an online petition by Washington pastor Peter Chin who wishes the apps to be censored:
“Google’s motto is ‘Don’t Be Evil’, which makes it difficult to fathom why they support the Make Me Asian and Make Me Indian apps by KimberyDeiss on their Google Play Store, apps which overlay dated and racist stereotypes on your photos. Tell Google these apps perpetuate hateful and offensive racial stereotypes that have been used to humiliate Asians and Native Americans for centuries, and you want both apps removed immediately.”
The Daily Mail says some Google Play users are letting their voice be heard through comments in the ratings section:
“Being Native American I find this app to be extremely offensive & stereotypical. I find it offensive to give me a bigger nose and war paint across my cheeks along with the long braided hair.”
In direct contrast, many users on Yahoo seem to support the apps for their humor, with one comment bringing up the issue of politically correct speech:
“Make me an anal-retentive politically correct goosestepper.”
According to CNN, Google released a statement saying the apps are not in violation of the company’s policies that protect against hate speech:
“We don’t comment on individual apps. We remove apps from Google Play that violate our policies.”
Do you think that Make Me Asian is a racist app that needs to be removed or that this is an instance of political correctness that Google should ignore?