Google has removed a "Make Me Asian" app that let players change their
appearance following an uproar by Asian American activists who said the
game promoted derogatory stereotypes.
As of Thursday, "Make Me Asian"
and similar apps such as "Make Me Fat" and "Make Me (American) Indian"
were no longer available on the search engine giant's online store
"Make Me Asian" had billed itself as allowing a
person to "make himself a Chinese, Japanese, Korean or any other Asian."
The user was able to add features to a person's picture, such as a
conical hat or a Fu Manchu mustache.
Nearly 8,500 people signed a
petition on the social action site change.org urging Google to remove
the app after the blog Angry Asian Man in November drew attention to it,
calling it "ridiculously racist."
Peter Chin, the Washington
pastor who launched the petition, said he was concerned that stereotypes
offensive to Asian Americans would become more mainstream if
distributed through Google Play.
"I understand if people still use
those characterizations, but I don't feel comfortable with them
becoming commonplace. That would really, I think, be going backwards for
the Asian American community," he told AFP.
"If this were several
generations down the line and these kinds of stereotypes were so old
and played out that no one even cared, then I could understand. But I
don't think we're quite there yet. They are still fairly offensive and
used very often," he said.
Asian American activists often complain
that the community is depicted as being perpetually foreign, even
though people of Asian heritage have lived in the United States for
Google did not immediately return a request for
comment. Chin said that Google only offered formulaic responses over the
concerns and did not inform him that it was taking down the app.