Emoji – pictographs used in instant messaging – have become a popular way to express emotion and ideas. Once unique to Japan Support for emoji in Unicode has standardized the way that emoji are displayed on devices worldwide, including iPhones, iPads and Macs. But there’s a lack of ethnic diversity displayed in the characters. MTV Act:
When you browse through the emojis on your phone, there are very few non-Caucasian ones to choose from. I mean, they have a water buffalo but no representation of people of color? That’s why, as an emoji addict, I’m glad that Miley Cyrus and “Baby Daddy” star (and lil bro to Tia and Tamera Mowry), Tahj Mowry, have brought up the lack of diversity in the 400-plus emojis. The omission caused MTV Act’s Joey Parker to seek a comment from Apple, so Parker went straight to the top – Tim Cook. While Parker didn’t get a response from Cook himself, Apple VP of worldwide corporate communications did respond:
”Tim forwarded your email to me. We agree with you. Our emoji characters are based on the Unicode standard, which is necessary for them to be displayed properly across many platforms. There needs to be more diversity in the emoji character set, and we have been working closely with the Unicode Consortium in an effort to update the standard.”
It’s great that Apple takes it seriously. Some people have been quick to suggest that asking for diversity in emoji displays excessive sensitivity, but wouldn’t you prefer to see emoji characters reflect your own ethnic heritage?
What do you think? Is this much ado about nothing, or is Apple right to work towards better diversity in emoji?