If you look at Apple’s Emoji keyboard, what do you see? Two different camels. A smiling turd. EVERY PHASE OF THE MOON.
But of the more than 800 Emojis, the only two resembling people of color are a guy who looks vaguely Asian and another in a turban. There’s a white boy, girl, man, woman, elderly man, elderly woman, blonde boy, blonde girl and, we’re pretty sure, Princess Peach. But when it comes to faces outside of yellow smileys, there’s a staggering lack of minority representation.
Apple has been one of the biggest pioneers of Emojis, from offering them as full-color images to introducing them to the American market in the first place. And, the company has already taken steps to make Emojis more inclusive: iOS6 debuted same-sex couple Emojis. That’s why we’re asking Apple to take the lead again and diversify their Emoji typeface, recognizing people of color as people...and Emojis. Everyone deserves to feel visible and represented.
Apple’s new iOS7 is launching this fall, so let’s speak up and get this changed. Tell Apple to update their iOS7 Emoji keyboard to include at least four faces with some melanin: a man, a woman, a boy, and a girl.
For example, maybe something like this, with different sets of Emojis with varying skin tones (hopefully without the handlebar mustache):
We’ll deliver your signatures to Apple. Possibly on the backs of two different camels.
Some have responded to the petition saying that Apple doesn’t “own” Emojis. That’s true, but Apple can still change their Emoji options:
Emoji is a set of codes that are then displayed as pictures - faces, animals, etc. While the codes were developed in Japan, there are several corresponding “fonts” - including Apple’s, which was groundbreaking. Not only did they add full color and customize certain images (one’s even an iPhone!), but their version is quickly becoming the Emoji standard.
Now we’re asking Apple to take another pioneering step and make darker-skinned faces a priority in their typeface (perhaps over certain symbols that aren't really used).
If these Emoji are going to be the texting and Twitter standard, we think it’d be cool if they better reflected the diversity of the people using them.