(Victor Valley) — First District Board of Equalization Member Betty T. Yee issued the following statement demanding removal of several racist applications marketed through Google’s “Google Play” platform for use on smart phones and tablets using Google’s Android operating system. The applications, called “Make me Asian,” “Make me Indian,” and “Make me Irish,” encourage users to modify pictures of themselves using stereotypical effects such as “war paint,” a conical hat, or facial hair.
“Google must remove these applications from its platform immediately. The applications encourage young people to associate individual cultures through insulting, stereotypical symbols that would not be tolerated in any other modern media. Furthermore, the notion that donning these superficial features can turn one into another ethnicity discourages every effort to teach young people to explore and embrace people of different cultures.
“The applications are also mean-spirited. Google’s online platform encourages users to share pictures with friends and ‘laugh heartily,’ advertising the idea that racist stereotypes should be promoted publicly.”
Board Member Betty T. Yee was elected to her post in November 2006. Her district includes many of California’s coastal counties, from Del Norte to Santa Barbara, and includes the entire San Francisco Bay Area. Ms. Yee previously served as Chief Deputy Director for Budget at the California Department of Finance, covering a wide array of state and local finance policy matters.
I think Ms Yee is correct in her assessment of the effect of this Google application. Of course, there is the concern over freedom of speech. However, there is such a thing as maintaining a sense of decorum in our discourse with each other, and particular trends of thinking and speech that are anti-social and demeaning should be discouraged in all reasonable and available ways, including exertion of peer pressure and other similar means.