Skip to main content

A developer known as KimberyDeiss produces Android apps to change a user's photo in specific ways, apps which are available free at Google Play. Titles include "Make Me Frankenstein", "Make Me Old", and "Make Me Punk", among others. These aren't the only changes that a user can make to his or her photo, however; there are also apps called "Make Me Indian" (by which they mean Native American, not from the subcontinent of India) and "Make Me Asian". Each of these latter two transforms the user's photograph into one of a man with racist, stereotypical elements: a "Fu Man Chu" mustache, slanted, narrowed eyes, yellow skin (about as jaundiced as I've seen on a kidney patient), and a conical woven straw hat in the case of "Make Me Asian", and a hipster headband, widened nose, feather, and "war paint" under the eyes in the case of "Make Me Indian".

They really are as bad as they sound. Here, see for yourself. The image on the left is the original image, the one in the center is as transformed by "Make Me Asian", and the rightmost is as transformed by "Make Me Indian".

To Amazon's credit, neither of these racist titles is available in their Android app store, nor are any other apps by this developer. The apps are available on Google Play, the largest and the default source for Android apps, on a site called Lisisoft, and on another called Appbrain. Their availability on Google Play is the most troubling, since it is so ubiquitous and installed on all Android devices.

These apps make me furious; they've made a lot of people furious. The photo above was taken from, where an angry DC pastor named Peter Chin has started a petition to pressure Google to take them down. Over 8,000 people have already signed the petition; please share it with your networks to increase the number of signatures.

An article appearing yesterday on Seattle public radio station KUOW's website discusses the growing outrage over these racist apps. WSJ columnist Jeff Yang, quoted in the article, is right: publishing this sort of thing helps mainstream stereotypes that harm the group being stereotyped. That they are available for free means that young people may be able to download them without letting their parents know that they have installed them. Several reviews of these apps on Google Play indicate that after the first minute of use, porn appears at the bottom of the screen, another obvious problem.

The user is able to not only transform his or her photo (or any other photo) but to share photos from the app on Facebook, via email, or via MMS message. The broken-English description for each encourages sharing transformed photos. Impressionable young people may get the idea that this sort of racism is harmless and fun, especially when the young person can share the racism with his or her friends.

Spreading racism is never good. Please sign Pastor Chin's petition and help get these apps off Google Play, where impressionable young people looking for social networking fun can find them. You might also want to contact Google Play's tech support by logging onto Google Play at, scrolling to the bottom of the screen and clicking "Help", and then, under "Contact Us", select the "Android apps" link. Google Play's call-me-back support feature usually brings a return phone call within two minutes and they're open 24/7. Please be polite, but let them know what the issue is, what you intend to do about it if anything, and the action you'd like them to take.


Originally posted to Kitsap River on Sun Jan 13, 2013 at 12:24 AM PST.

Also republished by Barriers and Bridges, LatinoKos, RaceGender DiscrimiNATION, Black Kos community, Native American Netroots, and Community Spotlight.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site