Apple updates emoji keyboard

Elise Mariano, Staff Writer/ Photographer

Along with “bug fixes and improvements” in Apple’s latest iOS update came 300 new emojis, including some ethnically diverse ones.

Apple has said to be working with The Unicode Consortium, which sets the standard for emojis, in order to better represent other races. Unlike before, the emojis now have a “non-human” yellow skin color, to show that these default emojis are of no specific race or ethnicity. There are now six different colors you can choose for the emoji people, if you count the yellow default.

According to Mac Daily News, some emoji users in China have found the yellow default skin tone to be offensive. In the article, it says that Twitter user Jade Tran said, “Is the yellow emoji suppose to represent Asians because I have never in my life seen an Asian lookin like that.”

This update was surely an honest attempt to please people of color, but it seems to have caused more trouble than it should have. Users now have to be more aware of which colors they use. Just because someone is white, should they be more compelled to us the white skin toned emoji?

In addition, people might feel more conscious about which emoji color to send to people of color. It really seems like people are even more offended now that emojis come in different skin tones than when there was only one skin tone offered.

New emoji update that includes races.
photo via under Creative Commons license
New emoji update that includes races.

However, you can say some good things came out of this update. Same sex families are now represented on the new keyboard. Several more country flags have been added as well. The only things that are missing would be new food emojis, like tacos, cupcakes or even vegetables. Taco Bell has expressed its concerns over the lack of a taco emoji by saying, “Why do pizza and hamburger lovers get an emoji but taco lovers don’t?”

Apple created a bigger problem by including more colors for the emojis. When users said they wanted to be better represented, they did not mean just change the skin color of an emoji. Race or ethnicity is not defined by skin color. If Apple and The Unicode wanted to be more ethnically diverse, they could have updated the emojis to be more culturally correct.

Although Apple meant well when they released this new update, they have done more harm than good