Google Removes Racist ‘Make Me Asian’ App From Play Store

In what has to be the least surprising news coming down the pipeline, Google has removed the app “Make Me Asian” from its Play store after complaints that the app is racist. Me no rikee!

Hmm, perhaps making racist jokes in an article about racial activism is not a good career move …

The app, which puts a rice paddy hat and Fu Manchu mustache on photographs of users, also tints their skin to a yellowish hue presenting the basic caricatured appearance of an Asian stereotype. How Google, whose app store policy specifically prohibits the selling of apps that are derogatory or demeaning to races and sexes, gave this thing a green light in the first place is the real question. Of course, since they removed the app from their store they aren’t speaking on the matter. “We don’t comment on individual apps. We remove apps from Google Play that violate our policies,” the company said in a statement.

Even more shady is the app maker themselves, KimberyDeiss, whose email address is no longer valid, but other apps offered by them include “Make Me Indian” (both kinds) and if a recent article by Kotaku.com is to be believed, the company has recently added the equally offensive “Make Me Black” and “Make Me Auschwitz” (but literally the only thing I can find on these two apps is the Kotaku story reporting on them and a german magazine citing the Kotaku story, so buyer beware).

Peter Chin, a pastor in Washington D.C. is responsible for the petition that got Google moving on a removal of the racially insensitive app. Initially, Chen went directly to Google to address his concerns about what he views as a normalizing of ethnic stereotypes, but after months of trying, the search engine giant did nothing. Finally, the pastor took his issues to popular complainer site Change.org, where people who have nothing better to do sign off on whatever petitions catch their eye, and posted his case there.

“Google has tried to defend itself in this matter by stating they are not responsible for the content of apps because Android is open source.  But the fact is that Google Play is NOT open source, but a branded store from which Google derives profit and has removed other racist apps, such as a Nazi app in August of 2010,” writes Chin in his appeal on Change.org. This time his pleas fell on motivated ears.

With over 18,000 people committing an e-signature to the petition, Google caved in and removed all the racist apps (and everything by KimberyDeiss) much to Chin’s delight. “I completely understand Google’s concerns about free speech but at the same time they have corporate responsibilities and they have to balance things out. I’m really thankful it all came together and am encouraged to hear their response actualized.”

I guess this time it’s a win for the little guy … little meaning, like, he’s just one person … not that he’s, ya’know small because he’s Asian … there are a lot of tall Asians too … Yao Ming? That guy’s tall … ahh geez. I’ll just stop.

Got “controversy fever”? Check out NMR’s coverage on Ray William Johnson’s feud with Maker studios. Sick of controversy? Check out this adorable video of two kittens escaping.