Archived: Apple Releases New EmojiStill No Diversity

By Chris Hoenig


Want to give someone a middle finger over your phone You’ll soon be able to do that.

Eating a hot pepper You’ll soon be able to share that with the world.

Are you a Black person who wants to send an emoji representing yourself Still not happening.

Apple is set to make an additional 250 emoji available to smartphone users, but despite petitions calling for diversity among the human iconsand Apple’s promise to increase the diversity among its emoji facesfaces of Black men, women, boys and girls are not among the update.

The emoji, which technically come from the Unicode Consortium and are then supported by Apple for its devices, will reportedly include several variations of Blacks hands, differing based on what fingers are raised.

New additions to the emoji include themes of:

  • food: empty plate with fork and knife, hot pepper;
  • travel: several airplanes, trains and boats:
  • technology: floppy disks, computer mice, keyboards;
  • hands: middle finger raised, reversed thumbs up and thumbs down;
  • weather: thermometer, fog, clouds with rain, snow, lightning and tornado:
  • sports and outdoors: stadium, medals, camping: and
  • people: anger and mood bubbles, levitating man in a business suit.

The wait for diversity will continue for at least another year.

“We have recently decided that we would put each Unicode release on a regular yearly schedule of June or July,” Unicode Consortium co-founder and president Mark Davis told the Wall Street Journal. “So expect to see Unicode 8.0 next summer, Unicode 9.0 the summer after that, and so on.”

Davis also addressed the controversy surrounding the lack of diversity amongst emoji, but placed the blame and responsibility on vendors such as Apple.

“The Unicode characters themselves were never intended to be racially specific,” he said. “For example, the picture of man is not meant to represent a white man or a black man or any other type of race; it is meant to represent a generic male person. In many cases, vendors went with appearances that appear to be based on the original Japanese characters, which had lighter-skinned faces.

“This choice was up to the vendors, not Unicode. However, I anticipate that vendors will now move towards more neutral appearance for these characters, such as the yellow-orange color used for the smiley faces.”

Celebrities, including Miley Cyrus, and a DoSomething.org petition last year pressured Apple into updating its emoji offerings to better reflect the diversity of its users.

The company, which has diversity problems of its own, has so far declined to comment.

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