I am very happy and relieved to report that the Make Me Asian app, along with all of the others by that developer, have been taken off of Google Play. So you might be asking, how exactly did a no-name pastor singlehandedly get the world’s largest and most influential technology corporation to do something that it didn’t want to do? The answer is…he doesn’t. He does it with lots and lots and lots of help from the following:
The Angry Asian Man Blog (www.angryasianman.com, @angryasianman) – it was this blog that, in very colorful language, first alerted me to this app. This website has become the primary resource by which the Asian American community becomes aware of issues that often go unreported by larger media outlets.
Eugene Cho (www.eugenecho.com, @eugenecho) – Eugene wrote an incredibly passionate and heartfelt blog post about the app, which quickly went viral. Actually, nearly everything Eugene does becomes viral…in a good way!
18 Million Rising (www.18mr.com, @18millionrising) – 18 Million Rising is a new API advocacy group who quickly realized the danger of this app and the stereotypes that it presented, and threw their weight behind the campaign, even creating a partner petition. Their partnership strengthened my own resolve because I realized that I wouldn’t be alone in this fight. Many thanks to Samala, Jenn, and the rest of the 18MR team!
Change.org (www.change.org, @change) – I can’t say enough about this website, and the team that runs it: Emilia, Charlotte, and others. Yes, there are a lot of crazy petitions on there, it’s true. But the fact of the matter is that they give voice to the voiceless, a platform from which individuals can affect real change. But they went the extra mile for me and asked a few press outlets if they would be interested in running a story on the petition. Which leads me to…
CNN (Sarah Edwards), MSNBC, Daily Beast (Winston Ross), Tech News Daily, International Business Times (Christopher Zara), The Wrap, Jezebel, Huffington Post, and NPR/All Things Considered (Allison Keyes) – I know that I sounded like a blathering idiot in all my interviews, so I am very thankful that you ignored my ramblings and brought attention to this petition.
8,449 supporters – I was overjoyed when 150 people signed the petition. I thought for sure that Google would take down the app. I was astounded when 1000 people signed it. I was overwhelmed when 5000 people signed it. In the end, over 8,000 people signed this petition, and I am thankful for each and every one of them. But I am especially thankful for those who signed the app but are not Asian themselves. It is easy to write off the feelings of others when something does not affect you. But true compassion, true civility, and true progress comes when we are able to emphasize with others, and stand with them in protest. Thank you all.
And finally, Google (www.google.com, @google, @googleplay). Yes, it took three months. Yes, it took news coverage from every major news outlet in the country. Yes, it took the outrage of thousands. But in the end, Google responded to our protest and took down the apps. I can understand why they were resistant to doing so, and understand their concerns regarding free speech. So I know that this was an act of some courage on their part as well, and that does not go unnoticed by me. Thank you.
I’m now going out to buy a Nexus 7 tablet. No joke. I’m actually a very big fan of Google, and this is why I wanted the app removed, so I could continue to be a big fan in the future. And now, I can!