It begs the question: Does Mickey Rooney have an Android phone?
Some Asian-Americans are outraged by an app called "Make Me Asian," which morphs anyone's photos by narrowing their eyes, yellowing their skin, and, for good measure, throwing on a rice paddy hat and fu manchu mustache.
It's by an app manufacturer called KimberyDeiss, which doesn't appear to have an official website. Make Me Asian's terse, odd official description asks, "Have you ever wondered to present himself as a person of another nationality?" Clearly not written by a native English speaker, the description adds that "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!"
If appearing as a caricature of the "other Asians" doesn't float your boat, KimberyDeiss has you covered: You can also download Make Me Indian, which gives you a sterner expression, war paint under your eyes, and a feathered headband.
The Asian American advocacy group 18 Million Rising, however, doesn't find it so fun. In a petition launched this month, the group deplores the apps, writing:
"These racist and offensive portrayals of Asians and Native Americans perpetuate damaging racial stereotypes and should not be distributed on the Google Play store. The apps should be removed immediately."
To KimberyDeiss's credit, it seems to be more oblivious than mean-spirited. Its eleven apps are all along the "make me [look different]" theme, and the rest are tamer, like Make Me Bald, Make Me Punk, and Make Me Old. Unfortunately for KimberyDeiss, online reviewers seem to hate all their products, frequently giving them one-star reviews.
In a review for Make Me Asian titled "Froze phone, racist," Daniel Peeples said the app was both offensive and didn't work. "Besides being racist and not working at all like its supposed to, it froze my phone, made it turn black and it took forever to get it back to normal," he wrote.
That criticism extended to other apps, like Make Me Freddy [Krueger] (which is presumably also a trademark violation).
"I dont have razer fingers or anything! This is bullcrap!" wrote an anonymous user in yet another one-star review.
Screenshots via Google Play