Last summer, Apple was vehemently criticized for the makeup of its workforce. An internal diversity report showed that 70 percent of the company is male and a little more than half are white. Diversity reports were also conducted within Facebook and Google and the results were quite similar, which prompted the concern of many racial groups and government officials.
In order to combat this depiction of being white-oriented, Apple is testing out a new suite of diverse emojis as part of its latest version of its operating system. Developers are releasing around 300 new emojis, and many of them come in different skin tones, races, hair colors and flags. It is still in beta mode.
Ostensibly, this is the result of a Unicode draft technical report highlighting modifiers to release diverse emojis. It was co-edited by Google’s Mark Davis and Apple’s Peter Edberg
DoSomething.org, a youth organization that initially encouraged Apple to perform such a technological move in a petition, celebrated the move. DoSomething.org chief marketing officer Naomi Hirabayashi averred that it’s a great move for minorities because it helps them think their voices are being heard and change is unfolding around them.
If you’re unfamiliar with what an emoji is – we usually refer to it as an emoticon – then here is a brief explanation: emojis, which were created in Japan during the 1990s, are pictorial icons, while emoticons are generic icons. Ostensibly, many celebrities have taken advantage of the immense popularity of emojis. For instance, science professional Bill Nye taught evolution with emojis, while Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick” was translated into emojis, according to CBS News.
However, when it comes to Apple’s new emojis, there is a tidal wave of accusations that these ones are racist. Although there are various skin colors attached to this emoji development, there’s also yellow emojis. Here is what the Washington Post wrote about how many East Asians may become upset by this:
“If the yellow-faced character is supposed to represent Asians, pundits point out, Apple’s big push for multicultural inclusion just backfired spectacularly. That’s because ‘yellow face,’ much like ‘black face,’ describes a specific, historical portrayal of Asians — one that many consider racist, offensive and hurtful, to this day.”
Who ever has a Bright yellow skin-tone? What does that even mean, Jaundice? Bright yellow emoji for Asians is racist enough, dear Apple.
— Nitish Murthy (@NiTiSHmurthy) February 24, 2015
Asian skin tone in the new Apple emoji set is bright yellow. That seems more racist than racially diverse.
— kray kray (@krazyfrog) February 24, 2015
The newspaper further expanded that racism is far from it because the standard yellow has been around since the AOL days of the 1990s and experts consider it to be ethnically neutral based upon the Fitzpatrick Scale, a dermatological scale developed in the 1970s.
This means that there can’t be accusations of racism made against the world’s richest company. Of course, many still may ask the question: where is the East Asian skin tone emoji?
Moving forward, a lot of people are moving beyond the emoticon and emoji and integrating bitmojis, which are personalized avatars, into their conversations. “There’s a lot of emotional nuance that’s missing from just text conversation and so we add that nuance. We add that emotion, and we also add you to it that makes it that much more, like personal, visual and fun experience,” Bitstrips CEO Jacob Blackstock said in an interview with the news network.
Many celebrities have embraced bitmojis, including star of “The Interview” Seth Rogan.Read More