Despite an uproar by the Asian American community, Google is refusing to pull down an app that stereotypes Asians in an ugly way. The Android app is called “Make me Asian” and what it does is it superimposes a picture with what the app developers think are physical “features” of Asians, such as a fu manchu mustache, a conical rice-paddy hat, as well as yellow skin and narrow eyes. The supposed caricature “Asian” look reminds some people of a stereotypical Asian villain from a bad Hollywood movie. And that is probably what the app makers are going for besides hoping to gin up sales from this controversy.
The developer of “Make me Asian” also created a similar and equally offensive app called "Make me Indian", which darkens skin, adds face paint and a headband in an apparent effort to make users resemble a Native American.
Despite a user rating of 2 out of 5 stars, the San Francisco Chronicle reports that both the "Make me Asian" and "Make me Indian" apps have been downloaded between 50,000 and 100,000 times each.
TigerStartups partner, 18 Million and Rising and other Asian American advocate organizations are leading a petition and campaign to demand Google to take down these apps. So far several thousand have signed but many more are needed to participate to show Google that the Asian American community does not find these apps funny or useful and instead perpetuate the ugly stereotypes about Asians. Besides signing the petition here, 18MR also is advocating tweeting to well known Asian celebrities in hopes of getting them to use their influence and their star power to let their fans know about this insensitive app. For example, you can tweet celebrities such as Aziz Ansari (@azizansari), Mindy Kaling (@mindykaling), Kal Penn (@kalpenn), John Cho (@johnthecho) with the following message:
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
If you have a Twitter account, just click on the link above and you will tweet a message to Aziz Ansari. By replace the twitter handle “@azizansari” with all the celebrities or anyone in your network, you can let them know how you feel about this app, that it is outrageous and not worthy for Google, a supposed good corporate citizen, to help promote racism against Asians.
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