Apple, the company that revolutionized our technological age has done it again. This time they are including all skin tones to the equation by introducing some new emojis.
Originally from Japan and first called “smileys”, emojis have provided society with a new way to communicate in social media, texting, emailing and so on. Emojis can be used in the place of words to express how someone may feel or interprets something.
“I always think it’s a good idea to acknowledge diversity in every aspect of life” Dr. Gina Zanolini Morrison said.
“Not only is it a smart move for Apple, commercially, but it’s great for a company this important to realize that so far the default icon has been white, Eurocentric.”
Emojis aren’t faces of expression however; they are all pictures that identify with different things.
For example, an emoji of a person smile may symbolize happiness, an emoji of a clock may symbolize time, an emoji of a heart may symbolize love and an emoji of a moon may symbolize nighttime.
Apple was not the first company to use emojis or smileys in their software however. According to iemoji.com it was actually a Japanese mobile phone provider called DoCoMo i-mode who came up with the idea and have since integrated emojis in mail and web service in all mobile carriers in Japan.
Smileys in Japan soon turned to smileys everywhere when The Unicode Standard was released, which contains over 100,000 different characters that can be used as text. This standardization allowed for emojis to be used elsewhere in companies such as, Apple, Google, and Samsung.
Morrison not only spoke on Apple, but she included all companies when she went on to say, “Now, if only all companies, including textbook companies, could take a good look at their products and work on recognizing how Eurocentric common products are, we’d live in a more realistic, more inclusive world. We’d all have a lot more choices.”
With an upgraded emoji line-up the potential issue of appropriate use should be considered.
“One thing I can say is that I believe that it is easy to be offensive and to feel offended when using electronic communications.” said Executive Director of Diversity Affairs, Georgia Costalas, “but intent is harder to discern.”
Texting may already be difficult for some because messages can be interpreted differently and in some instances people can be offended. The question is, whether these emojis are exceptions to this issue of electronic communication.