Apple Announces Its Plans To Increase Ethnic Diversity In Emojis
Apple has been in recent works with the Unicode consortium, the group responsible for standardizing graphic symbols, to expand their current range of emojis or emoticons, that will include a much more diverse representation of ethnic groups. Apple had began this process protested about the lack of ethnicity options in Apple, by posting a petition at dosomething.org
The petition managed to point out, that Apples current list of emojis only includes two that can depict a race that’s anything else but Caucasians, more specifically the ‘man with Gua Pi Mao’ hate and “one man with turban’. Beside the fact that those are the only other ethnicity to have been created, the fact that those icons are stereotypical representation doesn’t help.
Recent reports have shown that MTV had managed to bring the dosomething.org petition to Apple’s attentions, the company’s vice-president of worldwide corporate communications for Apple, Katie Cotton, had responded by saying:
“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.”
The reporter had approached Apple when it had stumbled upon the petition which was titled “Apple: Add More Diversity to the Emoji Key Board”. The petition has gained over 400 sign-ups, went on to say “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.”
A researcher from Oxford University had spoken about the importance of wider range of emojis, the researcher, Bernie Hogan, had been quoted by the BBC saying:
“Emoji exist first and foremost as a way to augment texts with clear expressive power. If they restrict the sort of people who are used in the images it restricts users’ expressive power – people won’t feel that the emoji speak for them… There will always be more potential icons than you can reasonably put in a system. It can’t realistically be the responsibility of any particular organisation or consortium to be able to provide all possible icons in a usable format. But that being said, in terms of racial diversity it’s very fair to think the range should be extended.”
Further examples of the lack of diverse emojis can also be seen in its limited number of food-based symbols, currently the only those of Bento Box, sushi and fried shrimp symbols exist. While these are perfectly explained from it Japanese origins, sources have reported that a number of campaigns have risen aimed towards the Unicode’s emoji list to add more symbols based on food.