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January 22, 2013

Controversial 'Make Me Asian' App Removed from Google Play Store

By Daniel Brecht, Contributing Writer

Google’s (News - Alert) "Make Me Asian" app let players change their appearance by slanting their eyes and changing the color of their skin as well as adding such features as a rice paddy hat and Fu Manchu mustache, possibly to resemble a fictional Chinese villain. The app is no longer available to download from the Google Play store due to criticism from consumers who claimed the face-changing application app involved stereotypical racist depictions.

In addition, the “Make Me Indian” Android (News - Alert)-application, which was also created by the same developer, Kimbery Deiss, received similar criticism. Like the “Make Me Asian” app, it was possible, at the click of a button, to be transformed to a Native American. The app gave users the option to change skin color and add such features as war paint and a feather headband to depict an exotic Native American chief or warrior.

What appeared to be an entertaining app to alter photos to resemble an Asian or a Native American were actually considered offensive, racist and portraying perpetuated damaging stereotypes.

Only following Peter Chin’s signed petition, (he already voiced concern from his blog in mid-November) and the ongoing Twitter (News - Alert) campaign on the apps controversy, Google decided to withdraw the apps from its store (on 17 January).

Over the last few months, these apps caused uproar by Asian American activists and protests by Net phone user app consumers on counts of racism.

Google decided to pull the apps from its store; however, it took them two months and several thousand people (more than 8,400 supporters) signing an online petition calling for its removal to make this happen. Those that spoke out against these apps and voiced their concerns said Google acted accordingly, but not that promptly.

Regardless, Google listened.

Many of those who signed the petition agree that these apps and others under KimberyDeiss' username, like “Make Me Auschwitz,” “Make Me Black,” Make Me Old,” and “Make Me Bald”, are also insulting.

As a result, Google has gone ahead and also removed apps that might pose the same problems and concern, apps that could potentially be humiliating for different cultures or people.

Hopefully, apps by this creator or anyone else with these ideas will be no longer accepted and the search engine giant will never again post discriminating apps that show prejudice.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Miami 2013, Jan 29- Feb. 1 in Miami, Florida.  Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Brooke Neuman
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