A Different Kind of Race: Emojis

The latest emoji updates for iOS (8.3) expanded the previous antiquated set with new ones that I personally like, like the inclusion of the Philippine flag: 🇵🇭.  This may seem subtle compared to the latest “issue” surrounding this update: race.  Not the usual “event” I grew accustomed to posting in this blog, but rather referring to the sensitive topic of diversity.

Some emoji now offer skin tone variations…

Personally, when adding emojis to my casual conversations, the race of my emoji was the last thing on my mind.  With emojis, I’m trying to convey my emotions in a more visual way, like if I’m trying to be cute 🐥 or delighted ☺️ or feeling a little chubby 🐷.  None of these emojis relate to what my skin color is, or the other party.  And in my relatively homogeneous circle of friends, it didn’t matter.

I recently came across an article written from a highly diverse location where racial sensitivity seems to be a daily high concern.  One of the “issues” presented was which shade of emoji should you use?  Should it be yours, the sender, or theirs, the recipient?  It sounds a bit silly from my perspective, but is a valid concern.  Actually, I find relating to any of these “diversified” emojis a challenge.  I mean, I have black hair, proudly tanned skin, and Chinese eyes, which one should I use?  This one has my hair 👦🏻, this one has my color (roughly, or so how I believe it to be) 👦🏼, but this one has my eyes (I think) 👲🏼.  Oh well, I’ll just use these instead 😉.

Anyway, while some argues that these diversified emojis actually promotes racism more, I still think that overall it’s a good update.  While I don’t necessarily see the need for emojis to have skin tone variations (seriously, is color more important than the message? 😼), I do see value in the added emojis, like the new flags (which makes me wonder how they picked the current set), the somewhat controversial same sex couple emojis 👨‍❤️‍👨 👩‍❤️‍👩, and even the “secret” emoji 🖖 only iOS 8.3 users can see (for now at least)!  Most of all, I like how much easier the emoji keyboard is to use!

The new emoji keyboard lets you scroll through categories easily, and they are now labeled!

Overall, I welcome this iOS emoji update.  It may not please everyone, but I’m pleased in it that we as a country are finally represented 🇵🇭.  And I might stick to my usual 😎.  Or the occasional “neutral” yellow emojis 👶.

Note: this post was written via WordPress on iOS (iPhone).  Emojis may not display accurately as intended on media not using iOS 8.3.  👾

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