After coming under fire for the lack of emojis of colour, the Unicode Consortium will finally be introducing some more diverse faces.
Replacing the use of colon, bracket and letter combos, emojis have taken over our mobile keyboards in a big way. Rather than simply spelling out a word, we can now find the appropriate emoji for it and add a little illustration to our communication.
While there are a variety of emojis to choose from (there are food stuffs, animals and even a poop emoji) the undoubted favourites are the faces. However, whilst there are babies, old men and women getting their hair done, the majority of the emoji faces we have access to are white.
Fast Company posed the question two years ago asking whether or not emojis are racist, noting the glaring lack of people of colour in them. And now, after the story has gained traction, it seems we could finally get to see more diverse faces in the emoji line up.
The Unicode Consortium is the group responsible for emojis, having been in charge since they were first introduced to Japanese mobile devices many moons ago. They say that “people all over the world want to have emoji that reflect more human diversity, especially for skin tone” and that it’s because of the precedent set by those original Japanese launched emojis that “they are often shown with a light skin tone”.
The group’s plan for this is to simply just introduce more skin tones. Rather than releasing a variety of new emojis meant to represent assorted races, we’ll soon be able to customise these ourselves. Not only does this fix the huge problem of a lack of diversity but it also means that all of our favourite emojis can now look like us. People of colour who love the sassy hair flip emoji eat your heart out.
The next Unicode emoji update will arrive in mid-2015 but there’s no official date on when the diversity features will be rolled out. Nonetheless, we’ll keep you posted.
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