Racism @Google? Thousands Protest ‘Make Me Asian,’ ‘Make Me Indian’ Apps

DiversityInc, January 4, 2013

More than 7,700 people have slammed Google for hosting in its Google Play store the “Make me Asian“ and “Make me Indian” apps. Asian-American groups and online users are urging Google to remove the racist apps from Google Play and stay true to its “Don’t be evil” motto.

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Although Google has a [email protected] section on its website and a Diversity and Inclusion Annual Report including lots of “Googley” images and anecdotes about scholarships and internships and community philanthropy, we can’t assess its commitment to diversity and inclusion. Despite annual invitations, Google has never participated in The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity in the 13 years the survey has been in existence.

The free apps allow Android smartphone users to edit photos by adding “humorous” stereotypes that vary by app: They can darken skin color, change eye shape to an “Asian” slant or add ethnic accessories like an American Indian headdress. “Compare the results with your friends and laugh heartily!” writes app developer KimberyDeiss. “In few taps you can transform yourself and your friends in the real Indians, using different effects and settings.”

Both apps have been downloaded between 50,000 and 100,000 times.

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Despite the “Make me Asian” and “Make me Indian” apps’ blatant use of offensive stereotypes, Google has refused to remove them from its Google Play store. The apps do not violate the company’s policies, Google told CNN.

{snip} Because the apps are not “deliberately” offensive, they do not constitute a violation.

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Washington, D.C.—based pastor Peter Chin, an Asian who was offended when he downloaded the app, launched the full-scale petition in reaction to Google’s inaction.

“These are nothing less than hateful and offensive stereotypes that are used to this very day to marginalize and humiliate people. They are not funny, and their use highlights a vicious double standard in the treatment of certain minority groups,” writes Chin. “Blackface is thankfully and rightfully recognized as thoroughly racist, so why in the world is “yellowface” and “redface” given a pass?”

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