Everyone loves a good Snap. It's where all our quality lurking gets done, if we're being honest. What everyone doesn't love, however, is when Snapchat gets a bit...carried away with itself.
Back in April, the app giant landed itself in a bit of hot water when, for 420 (blaze it), it gave users the option to overlay their own features with those of legendary reggae artist, Bob Marley. Many people considered this to be blackface. Because it was. It was definitely blackface.
Now the app is having to answer questions about a "yellow face" filter that displays shockingly insensitive characterizations of the Asian community.
The filter, which Snapchat has since said "expired" and "won't be put back into circulation", featured an overlay with old school stereotypes similar to how Asian people have been portrayed in the past.
"Yellowface" has widely been acknowledged as an offensive and unacceptable form of expression, even in popular well received films like Breakfast At Tiffany's. The history behind "yellowface" has dark roots, just as black face does, and anyone working with Snapchat should have been aware of this history.
Mickey Rooney in yellowface for Breakfast At Tiffany's
"Squinty eyes" is a stereotype that we'd all hoped to move on from, but here we are in 2016 scratching our heads about a filter making fun of an over exaggerated feature that some people have.
When probed for answers, Snapchat told multiple outlets that the filter was "anime inspired" and meant to be "playful" and not offensive.
There is clearly a reason this keeps happening to only Snapchat and no other company. That's probably why people keep volunteering to work for Snapchat's "Is This Racist" division.
hi snapchat if you want to hire me and pay me silicon valley money to tell you if filters are racist or not i can totally do that job— Dunkirk Trailer (@DavidUzumeri) August 10, 2016
.@Snapchat pay me two million dollars a year and i can tell you if a new filter is racist or not before you release it— Kevin Nguyen (@knguyen) August 10, 2016
can @Snapchat hire someone to stop them from releasing racist filters bc it shouldn't be that hard to tell if a product is harmful or not— brittany.le (@brtnyle) August 11, 2016
Dear @Snapchat,— Ryan Fernandez (@RTFern) August 10, 2016
Please hire me to be your "Is This Racist?" checkperson.
Predictable joke aside, maybe if Snapchat had some people of colour to tell them when their behaviour wasn't cool, there wouldn't be news stories all the time about how their behaviour isn't cool.
Snapchat. Do. Better.