If you’re an iPhone user, you’ve probably noticed that the popular Emoji symbols are lacking faces of color. To be more specific, there is not a single brown face. While some probably see this as a minuscule discussion in a world with much bigger issues, others find it to be rather slighting. Earlier this week a petition was formed on DoSomething.org requesting that Apple executives Tim Cook and Jony Ive produce more faces of color for their Emoji app.
“If you look at Apple’s Emoji keyboard, what do you see? Two different camels. A smiling turd. EVERY PHASE OF THE MOON,” the beginning of the petition reads.
“But of the more than 800 Emojis, the only two resembling people of color are a guy who looks vaguely Asian and another in a turban. 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,” the writer continues.
“Apple has been one of the biggest pioneers of Emojis, from offering them as full-color images to introducing them to the American market in the first place. And, the company has already taken steps to make Emojis more inclusive: iOS6 debuted same-sex couple Emojis. That’s why we’re asking Apple to take the lead again and diversify their Emoji typeface, recognizing people of color as people…and Emojis. Everyone deserves to feel visible and represented.
Apple’s new iOS7 is launching this fall, so let’s speak up and get this changed. Tell Apple to update their iOS7 Emoji keyboard to include at least four faces with some melanin: a man, a woman, a boy, and a girl.”
Some have tried to combat the petition with explanations that Apple does not actually own the Emoji app, but the petition’s organizers had a response for that as well.
“Some have responded to the petition saying that Apple doesn’t “own” Emojis. That’s true, but Apple can still change their Emoji options:
Emoji is a set of codes that are then displayed as pictures – faces, animals, etc. While the codes were developed in Japan, there are several corresponding “fonts” – including Apple’s, which was groundbreaking. Not only did they add full color and customize certain images (one’s even an iPhone!), but their version is quickly becoming the Emoji standard.
Now we’re asking Apple to take another pioneering step and make darker-skinned faces a priority in their typeface (perhaps over certain symbols that aren’t really used).”
So far the petition has acquired 1,768 signatures.