We’re Finally Getting Diverse Emojis!

Hooray! We’re getting diverse emoji! The Unicode Consortium, the entity that standardizes characters for letters, numbers, and symbols, has heard the demand for emojis with diverse skin tones and is adding a range of five skin tone options to emoji characters based on a dermatological measure called the Fitzpatrick scale.

The change will apply to all yellow smiley face emojis, hand emojis, and any emoji with human facial or bodily characteristics. The face emojis are currently predominantly Caucasian in appearance, as are characters like the dancing woman, the man on a bike, the surfer, swimmer, snowboarder, etc. All together, 151 emoji will be affected by the change.

The change is waaaaaay overdue. The problem, as the Unicode Consortium puts it, is that:

“The Unicode emoji characters for people and body parts are meant to be generic, yet following the precedents set by the original Japanese carrier images, they are often shown with a light skin tone instead of a more generic (inhuman) appearance, such as a yellow/orange color or a silhouette.”

When you set Caucasian as “generic,” you set it as the standard or the norm, from which anything else is a deviation. I’ve wondered for the past year that I’ve been using emojis (I know, I’m not hip) why it is that everyone’s forced to use white characters to represent themselves, and Apple only announced a few months ago that it would eventually create diverse emojis. The Unicode Consortium has started to implement a real solution to the problem, though no release date has been announced yet.

[Daily Dot]

[Unicode Consortium]


[Image via Unicode Consortium]

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