Diversity in EmojisDamien Moye
In the 1990s, Japanese computer engineers invented Emojis. These are small cartoon like symbols that help express emotions. These symbols include happy faces and thumbs up. But there was one problem.
These emojis seriously lacked diversity. That is, until now. Included in the Apple iOS 8.3 are around 300 more emoji symbols. This will include both genders and more ethnicity and more skin tones. These new images will have different professions. One can even create their own emojis; celebrities like Seth Rogen have done so. And it’s not just races and skin color that’s diversifying. Family dynamics are, too. For example, some of these new emojis include families with two mothers and two fathers as well as the more traditional family. Thirty-two more national flags are in this batch. Despite these changes, there are still some complaints and concerns. Some are saying the yellow emojis may be interpreted as racist and offensive to the Asian community, though it’s believed the yellow images were never meant to represent them. Whether consumers embrace or shun these new images, the people at Apple are standing by this change. One spokesperson says, “Apple cares and supports deeply about diversity…[we’re working] to update the standard so that it better represent diversity for all of us.”
In principal, I think they’re doing the right thing. Obviously, our world is diversifying, and that needs to be better represented through all aspects of culture, not just through emojis. That’s what Apple is trying to do here. But this could backfire. Some may take the images the wrong way. I’ve read on my Facebook page a comment like, “What are they trying to do? Bring back blackface comedy?” But I’m convinced in this hyper uber-correct 2010s world, some people are going to get offended no matter what. That’s the risk Apple is willing to take. Will you be using these new emojis?