An online petition on Change.org is calling for the removal of the “Make Me Asian” app from the Google Play store.
The petition, which had 925 signatures as of Sunday evening, was launched by Peter Chin of Washington, D.C.
“Google’s motto is ‘Don’t be evil,’ which makes it difficult to fathom why they support the ‘Make Me Asian’ app on their Google Play Store, an app which overlays dated and racist stereotypes on your photos,” Chin wrote. “Now you too can be Asian by putting a rice paddy hat and Fu Manchu mustache on your profile picture, complete with slanty eyes! Because that’s all it takes to represent the four billion Asians in the world, a stupid hat and facial hair.
“Tell Google you want this app, as well as any like it, removed immediately from Google Play.”
Chin also urged supporters to flag the app as inappropriate directly on the Google Play site.
Among those who agree that the app is “patently racist and perpetuates false and offensive stereotypes” is Emily Muntfort of Annapolis, Md., who commented, “I’m not Asian or Asian American. I’m white, pretty mainstream. And I find this offensive. If it’s offensive to me, I can’t begin to imagine how Asian Americans must feel. It’s stupid, unnecessary, and insulting.”
Penny Hunter of Colorado Springs, Colo., wrote, “Our ethnic background is something to be respected, honored and celebrated, not mimicked and ridiculed.”
The app’s official description: “Have you ever wondered to present himself as a person of another nationality? You can imagine, for example, Chinese or Japanese? No? Then immediately take your phone and download it amazing Android-application called ‘Make Me Asian.’
“This is just a fun app lets you indulge you and your friends! You can for a few seconds to make himself a Chinese, Japanese, Korean or any other Asians!
“Features (of) ‘Make Me Asian’:
“- Almost instantly, you can make yourself or your friends by representatives of Asian nations, such as Chinese or Japanese;
“- The opportunity to photograph people and process the captured images, or upload a photo from the gallery and work with it;
“- The results obtained can be shared via the social network Facebook, email or MMS.”
Phil Yu wrote in his “Angry Asian Man” blog, “This idiotic app is brought to you by KimberyDeiss, maker of such fine apps as ‘Make Me Russian,’ ‘Make Me Irish’ and ‘Make Me Indian.’ Again, seriously. These are actual apps. Why? What is the point? Big middle finger to the person who created this app, and another middle finger to anyone who installs this sh%t on their device.”
Responses in the app’s comments section have been mixed, with some denying that the app is racist.
“James” wrote, “As an Asian (Korean), I didn’t find myself offended by the app. By adding the hat and moustache, it’s just silly more than anything. There’s no need to get angry about it and if people want to see how they may look more like Bruce Lee, Jeremy Lin, and go Gangnam Style, let them (but they won’t be able to using this app). Overall, it is not worth the download. It has no functional options to edit or to save, and has suspect pop-up ads that could contain viruses.”
“Danny” wrote, “Honestly, we’re too sensitive about racism in North America and think the world is against us. How ironic that we Asians are often as racist if not more than others. We are just as guilty of discrimination against foreigners, other Asian cultures and especially those of lower socio-economic classes. Shame on us!”