Stereotypes portrayed in apps

flattenimageapp.jpgOwning a smartphone isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. While it has become the must-have piece of technology, we can do without some of the smaller parts that make it so desirable: apps.

In an age where we are still fighting against stereotypes, sexism and racism, even apps are betraying the cause. Here are some of the worst apps that are unbelievably available to download in both Apple and Android app stores (and people have actually used them).

Gang Nations for iPhone and iPad

Similar to Clash of Clans, Gang Nations grabs the idea of building an urban city and defending it from attacks. The neighborhood is supposed to look like a slum. It has run down buildings, abandoned cars and your “gang.” The gang characters include hoodlums, shooters, thieves and even convicts.

There are worse games set in urban neighborhoods, like “Grand Theft Auto” games, but the cutesy animation can be misleading and attractive to children. The game is not necessarily racist, but it does a nice job reinforcing stereotypes and depicting gang violence as a game. Worst of all, it is described as a “family sharing” game.

As someone who lives in East Los Angeles, what I can say with certainty is that the gang violence problem is still at large. I take offense from a game that makes such a prominent problem look like a fun way to pass time. From what I have been through and seen, anything gang affiliated isn’t something you want to experience, even through a game.

Pocket Ghetto Fight App for Android

This app is as pointless as they come. In a nutshell, the app generates “street” lingo, said by women, to use in a hypothetical street argument. While the game description does mention its intention on “poking fun at street brawls…between an infinite numbers of angry chicks” it teeters on the line of racism.

The app shows an animated female, that appears to be Latina or African-American, with an urban stereotypical name and her stereotypical insult. For example, a female named La’oi’an says, “crack hoe got pregnant AGAIN…like crack hoe won’t get outta my house know what i’m sayin’” You have the option of background sounds, which are mostly jumbled arguments between women yelling and cursing at each other.

What irks me the most is that it paints women as loud-mouthed and uncivilized. Not only that, but the developer justifies these insults and threats “from the everyday life on the street.” I am insulted thinking people might assume women argue this way just because this app teaches you how to. As much as this app is meant to tickle our ribs, it is sad to think someone out in the world believe women actually speak this way. Women have spent years trying to be taken seriously and be respected as much as men, and this app can easily drag us a couple of years back.

Hang Obama for Android

This app is, by far, the most insulting app I have ever encountered. The app adds a disgusting twist to the old hangman game. Similar to the game we played in elementary school, you try to guess the word by choosing a letter. In this case, the hangman is President Obama on an electric chair, wearing a blue jumpsuit and holding a bucket of a chicken on one hand and a hot dog on the other.

This game can either be taken as racist, anti-political or both. I personally found it extremely racist. While President Obama sitting on an electric chair isn’t really the issue, the fact that he’s an African American man is. African-American people suffered through years of falsely accused executions and to think people find this game fun (a 3.3 out 5 star score) is disappointing. We belong to a nation where racism and prejudice are huge problems, yet we are still willing to take time to download this game and poke fun at something that continues to divide us.

Whatever the reasons these apps were created and still exist baffles me, but I hope we all realize they do not depict reality. We are adults in an era of change, and I hope in the near future obscene apps like these cease to exist, because even the little things can make a difference.