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Snapchat ‘Yellowface’ Filter: Tech Company Lacks of Gender and Racial Diversity in Its Workforces Says Professor


Snapchat's 'yellowface' filter was not well-received by the community and dubbed it as racially insensitive filter. It follows the controversy few months ago when the popular app released a Bob Marley filter that was called by the users as "digital blackface". 

Snapchat is yet again facing another controversy when the netizens raised their rage in the social media regarding the newest filter of the app called 'yellowface' that enabled users to have contorted facial features and slit eyes which is an indicator of stereotyping Asian people.

To express her frustration, Grace Sparapani in a direct message to USA Today said, "Definitely gives the impression that Asian features (caricatured and taken to extremes) aren't just available to be tried on but encouraged to be mocked as well."

To address the pressing issues over racial discrimination, in a report from Mashable, Snapchat said, "This anime-inspired lens has already expired and won't be put back in circulation. Lenses are made to be playful and never to offend." It is found that the lenses are taken just this morning.

The said stereotyping concerned some people in the academic field like Professor Safiya Noble of UCLA. In an interview with USA Today she emphasized the importance of tech companies to hire people with a profound knowledge of cultural, ethnic and women studies as well as sociology, the field that specialized histories of marginalized people. She also remarked that the lacking of racial and gender sensitivity in Snapchat's workforces contributed to racial stereotyping in their products. Silicon Valley was cited as an example where tech force composed of 6% Hispanics and 3% Americans while non-tech workforce 22% Hispanics and 24% Americans.

The issue was exacerbated when Snapchat allegedly declined to quantify diversity inside the company. According to CEO Evan Spiegel, they have exact percentages but they don't quantify people in terms of race, they quantify them based on their diverse skills.

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