Life was simpler till last year, you could send anyone an emoji without racism ever coming in the close vicinity of your conversation. Now, you can’t send someone a simple thumbs up because one tone over and you’re trying to be white, two tones down and you’re insulting the darker groups of the society. It’s a rock and a hard place. In my opinion, the new emoji ruined the current state of social media by increasing instances of casual racism, intended or not.
Before that, what are the new emoji? In April 2015, Apple with the consultation of the Unicode consortium introduced racially diverse emoji. These emoji, instead of the generic yellow or skin colour feature different skin tones based on the Fitzpatrick scale of dermatology (no, I didn’t know about it until I started my technical research for this feature) So, the whole thing looks like this, where you can hold down to choose your preferred skin colour.
I’ll be honest, I did not think about this issue and initially thought it was a good thing and the fact that no one in my close vicinity uses an iPhone barring one or two people, I did not face the problem with casual racism till a few days ago when Whatsapp introduced the feature in their own app, hence, giving Android users the boon (or bane) of racially-diverse emoji. That’s when I started noticing.
Most people aren’t even selecting their skin tones and directly going for the fairest of all, that is, the first type of all emoji and that’s just the beginning of it. Need to post a shitty reply, take the darkest tone. Casually racist, are you? How about a dark thumbs up with every joke. Your racist joke might not get you enough attention so why not a dark man or dark finger or dark peace symbol just to make sure it’s received in the light you intended it in and when you start noticing, you’ll see so much more.
The fact that people are going to select the first type which they all have been programmed to acknowledge as skin colour since they were children is proof of two things, one, we haven’t come anywhere in the war against racism and two, the racially-diverse emoji more or less, brought racism out of the closet but in a way, it encourages it.
What do you think, are the racially diverse emoji a good thing? Have you seen any improvement in anything? Do you agree with me on this one? Let me know in the comments below and thank you for reading.