'Make Me Asian' App Removed From Google Play Store | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

Filed Under:

'Make Me Asian' App Removed From Google Play Store

"Make Me Asian," a smartphone app that drew the ire of Asian-American activists for what they say are stereotypical depictions, is no longer available on the Google Play Store.

The "Make Me Asian" app let users alter photos to turn faces into stereotypical Asian caricatures --- think Fu Manchu-style mustaches and rice paddy hats. Its creator, "KimberyDeiss," developed similar apps, like Make Me Indian, Make Me Russian, Make Me Frankenstein and Make Me Fat. Those apps are no longer available, either, and KimberyDeiss's Google Play profile has been deleted.

Google has not responded to requests for comment, and it is unclear why the apps were removed. But Peter Chin, a pastor in Washington, D.C., who started a petition on Change.org calling for Google to stop selling the Make Me Asian and Make Me Indian apps, says he is pleased.

"I am deeply thankful to those who realized the danger of these stereotypes entering the mainstream and spoke out against this app," Chin tells us. "But I am also appreciative of Google, who listened to our concerns and acted accordingly."

Earlier this week, the online activist group 18 Million Rising started a Twitter campaign with a hashtag, #makemeracist, aimed at getting Google to remove the apps.

Members of the group and their Twitter followers tweeted the hashtag at Asian-American celebrities, such as actors Aziz Ansari Mindy Kaling, to ask for their help in shutting down the apps.

"Hey @azizansari have you seen the Make Me Asian app? bit.ly/aa-asian More like #makemeracist! Let's take it down. bit.ly/makemeasian

"— C. M. Samala (@samala) January 10, 2013"

In a recent conversation with NPR's Allison Keyes, columnist Jeff Yang of The Wall Street Journal said he wasn't surprised that the app didn't raise the sort of objections that apps about other ethnic groups might have.

"There is less inherent social and political power associated with these groups," he said, so the consequences often aren't as serious "if you parody, satire or mock or offend these communities."

Gene Demby is a new NPR blogger who will be part of an initiative focusing on race, ethnicity and culture. You can follow him on Twitter at @GeeDee215.

Copyright 2013 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Maggie Gyllenhaal Is 'The Honorable Woman': A Series Both Ruthless And Rewarding

The eight-part drama that begins Thursday stars Maggie Gyllenhaal as a British baroness with an Israeli passport. She's a fearless actor in a show full of kidnappings, seductions and betrayals.
NPR

When China Spurns GMO Corn Imports, American Farmers Lose Billions

China has been a big and growing market for U.S. corn. But then farmers started planting a kind of genetically engineered corn that's not yet approved in China, and the Chinese government struck back.
NPR

Congress Approves $16.3 Billion VA Health Care Bill

A 91-3 vote in the Senate will send the landmark VA legislation, meant to address widespread problems in the VA health care system, to President Obama for his signature.
NPR

Can Pinterest Compete With Google's Search?

Pinterest has created a database of things that matter to humans. And with a programming team that's largely been hired away from Google, the company has begun offering what it calls "guided search."

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.