Are Emoji Racist?

Perhaps you haven’t noticed, but the emoji on your iPhone are overwhelmingly Caucasian. An online petition is asking Apple to change that.

Are Emoji Racist?

For those of us who can’t be bothered to type out actual words in text messages, the hundreds of emoji that are offered among iOS’s default Keyboard options are a welcome alternative. But if you look closely, you’ll notice that, among emoji with clearly delineated ethnicities, only a handful appear to be non-Caucasian.

A petition on Do Something is asking Apple to add more diversity to its emoji lineup by adding “at least four faces with melanin (a man, a woman, a boy, and a girl) to the emoji keyboard.”

From the petition:

If you look at Apple’s emoji keyboard, what do you see? Two different camels. A smiling turd. EVERY PHASE OF THE MOON. 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.

When Apple upgraded to iOS 6 last June, it added emoji depicting gay and lesbian couples for the first time. It’s not the first time, but users are asking Apple to once again consider expanding its emoji catalog to more accurately reflect reality.

[Image: Flickr user IntelFreePress]

About the author

Christina is an associate editor at Fast Company, where she writes about technology, social media, and business.



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