Apple to deliver new racially diverse emoji

“Your iPhone’s emoji are about to get a lot more racially diverse,” Ben Geier reports for Fortune.

“In the new versions of Apple’s iOS and OS X operating systems, the available emoji will include a wider range of skin colors,” Geier reports. “In order to access the new skin tones, you’ll select an emoji, then hold and tap your preferred appearance.”

“Apple was able to add the new racially diverse emoji after changes on the part of the Unicode Consortium, an industry standards group that determines which emoji will be available to smartphone users,” Geier reports. “The Consortium first proposed the skin tone swatch idea back in November 2014 amid increasing criticism of emoji’s lack of diversity.”

Apple's new diverse emoji include black Santa Claus
Apple’s new diverse emoji include black Santa Claus

Read more in the full article here.

“A lot of thought has clearly gone into it – instead of making the emoji list five times as long, you can now click and hold a picture and then scroll right to change its ethnicity,” Christopher Hooton reports for The Independent. “Any ‘people’ icons can be altered, and the family has also been given a more contemporaneous makeover, now showing kids with gay and lesbian parents.”

Apple's new emoji

Read more in the full article here.


  1. The way they’re doing this is rather brilliant. It’s a modifier to the the emoji character and not a unique character. This means that anyone with an older version of iOS (or other platform that isn’t updated) will still see the original emoji instead of a blank placeholder. Plus it means that users won’t have to scroll through more characters. They can continue to use the originals and never even see the other options.

  2. The imposed political correctness, as if it needed any, of emoji is now officially idiotic. It’s just a color vector font from Japan. It’s not representative of anything else. It doesn’t need to have gay or lesbian couples represented. It doesn’t need to have the symbols for 999 different religions. It doesn’t need to have a shark, even though I personally wish it did. It doesn’t need images of babies from every conceivable human race, blahblahblah. It’s just for fun. Stop killing the fun please. 😛 🐂 💩 💣

    1. “… it doesn’t need to have …”

      Unless you are one of those people. When you are a part of the mainstream society, you simply can’t know how it is to be a part of a small group.

      1. It’s from Japan. Accept that it’s a color vector font from Japan. If people want to make their own color vector font, then go to it! Bringing racism and religionism and sexual orientationism and shark-bite-ism and ageism and barfbarfbarfism is ridiculous. This isn’t a global public sensitivity issue. It’s just a simply bloody font. Go be hyper-sensative about whatever is personally bothering you and you and you somewhere else please. Crazy fscking humanity.

        1. It’s from Japan. Accept that it’s a color vector font from Japan.”

          While Emoji originated in Japan, NTT DoCoMo only had 176 symbols and none of them were the white characters. This didn’t come into place until Google and Apple requested Emojis be encoded into the Unicode standard, and we now have 722, with only 114 mapping to the old characters.

          Originally, even Apple wasn’t intending for this to be a world-wide thing, but rather wanted emojis to be encoded into Unicode, because that’s the entire point of Unicode, to allow for encoding of all languages in one system that allows for characters to go in and come out in a unifying way. Without it, Apple had a problem when the iPhone was first in Japan since characters outside of Unicode would show up as gibberish.

          “If people want to make their own…”

          That’s exactly what’s happening here. New emojis have been submitted as part of Unicode 8 to the Unicode Consortium, of which Apple is one of 9 Full Members.

          The whole point of the consortium is to make sure Unicode adopts whatever characters are being used internationally into one unifying standard.

          Would you rather receive messages from various locations or various platforms and not be able to read them because their is no unifying standard?

          Why would any of this bother you?

      2. I’m with Derek. Tell me the race of this one: : )
        Or this one: ; D
        Or: 8 )
        One last shot: : *

        If you guessed anything on those, you are wrong. Well, perhaps if you guessed “anything”, you could be correct. They are keys on a keyboard, and have no ethnicity, gender, or religion. Either that or they are all inclusive. It doesn’t matter. If you argue that the pictures that have replaced those keystrokes have color, then why has it been okay for them to be bright yellow since the 70s? (Maybe longer – that’s how far back I remember it.)

        1. Tell me the race of these:
          👸 👱 🙋

          The fact of the matter is that of the 722 emojis that currently exist, most of them are without race. However, of those with race, the overwhelming are white, with only a few as stereotyped characters.

          Why do you have a problem that the white emoji characters will now have the option to have colored skin to reflect other races?

          How does this give you something to be upset about?

    2. Derek, who’s killing the fun with this? When this comes out on iOS 8.3 or whatever, will you take your iPhone and get all giddy in excitement to send an emoji only then to be distraught over the fact that if you hold-tap your favorite emojis that you now have an option for representing other races?

      Why are you butthurt over this?

        1. “Because being all touchy about making EVERYONE happy is the hurtiest butthurt of all.”

          Derek, you’re the only one acting petty here and being all touchy about this issue.

          This isn’t a story about protesters or boycotts or anything other than the Unicode Consortium adopting submitted characters for inclusion in Unicode 8 and how Apple plans to implement them.

          How are you impacted by this at all?

          What is wrong with you such that you read this article and thought to yourself that you’d whine and complain about others being able to choose characters that better represented the way they look?

          You’ve made several comments here, not one of them actually addressing how you’re directly affected by this. Instead, you’re using logic fallacies to try to defend your position, which really all comes down to “we’ve got white characters, but although there’s not one single thing I can say about a negative impact on adding other characters, I’m going to irrationally rant about other races being represented!”

            1. Your point was nothing more than whining about being butthurt over something that has absolutely no impact on your life or your usage of the iPhone other than the option to use alternative colored emojis as opposed to the only white ones.

              When asked how this could possibly impact you in any other way, you repeatedly dodged the question, applied logic fallacies and proclaimed that you weren’t going to waste time with this nonsense.

              Funny how you have plenty of time to then make that proclamation repeatedly, or to even return to make other comments here after this, but when asked a basic question, you dodge it as irrelevant.

              Ok, I’ll say it. You’re a racist.

              Undoubtedly you’ll deny this… some of your best friends, right? Or you’ll ignore or dodge this point. But guess what Derek, you’ve not only made an ass out of yourself here, but you’ve been exposed for who you are.

              Again, this article wasn’t about a protest, or a boycott, or an act of political correctness “taking away your fun”; that is unless your idea of fun was to deny people the ability to choose character that better reflected their race as opposed to white characters, for no reason other than to deny them of this.

              You’re the racist who up until the 90s would whine like a butthurt little brat asking why they had to ruin your fun by releasing a Barbie doll that wasn’t white or feature a Disney Princess of color. Why should they make TV shows and movies with characters of color amIright?

              Think about this. There’s nothing wrong with admitting what you wrote was wrong, or backtracking and clarifying what your meant, but when presented with what you’ve been presented with and to continue to hold the position you’ve held without any explanation as to why what Apple is doing impacts you, is clearly an indication of you being a racist… or an idiot… or both.

            2. The ultimate answer of someone who has no valid points – ignore the points, ignore the questions being asked, throw an insult.

              What you are saying, Derek, is nothing but empty ravings. No-one is imposing anything on you… or on anyone. This will have ZERO effect on your life (except for this emotional storm that you’re creating for yourself).

    3. “imposed” – Get a grip, Derek. They are not making you or anyone else use them. You won’t even seen them unless you click and hold.

      “It’s just a bloody font.”
      Nope. Yes, it is technically what is called a “font”. But it is not, of course, the same as an alphabetic font. Each one of those characters carries considerably more meaning that A or $.

      “If people want to make their own…”
      Apple is made up of people. And they’re making their own. Yes, they’re sharing them. But – as above – no-one is requiring you to use a single one of them… or even look at them. And no-one will berate you if you, as a white person, use the white person face.

      “Go be hyper-sensative”
      Ummm, pot calling kettle…

      1. Oh gawd…

        “It’s just a bloody font.”
        Nope. Yes, it is technically what is called a “font”

        Now we’re to the usual point of people not reading what I wrote and going off on obscure tangents. IASSOTS.

        Go get sensitive about something important world, like human survival.

        YOUR hypersensitivity over the political correctness of a font is now making me laugh at you. 😛

        1. “YOUR hypersensitivity over the political correctness of a font is now making me laugh at you.”
          Your hypersensitivity over a matter that is utterly trivial is what various people are commenting on. I don’t think anyone here cares very much, one way or the other, whether ‘racially diverse’ emoji exist.

          But I’ll speak for myself – I certainly don’t. I didn’t care that they didn’t exist before. And I don’t care that they exist now. You are giving yourself an aneurism about such trivia is what is fascinating.

          Nothing is being IMPOSED on you, or anyone else. The way you’re blowing up, one would think you were witnessing the spilling of millions of gallons of coal waste by Duke Energy, or a child being tortured, or an unarmed person being shot.

          “Go get sensitive about something important world, like human survival.”
          Tell that to yourself, Derek.

  3. I don’t really care whether it’s a white or black person smiling at me. It should be the smile that is represented. Can’t we get past race in our enlightened era. Just keep/make all emoji the unhuman bright yellow applicable equally to all so we can focus on the message rather than the race of the sender or audience. Apple is just setting themselves up to disappoint myriad underrepresented groups while adding nothing of value.

    1. It’s usually white guys who say things like this. “Why can’t we get past race?” Because ignoring, or pretending to ignore it doesn’t make it go away. Wishing that people who are under-represented would just go away and stop wanting to be represented doesn’t make it happen. You don’t care because you are well-represented. I don’t see the harm here. The only people I see complaining about this are not the people who are now newly included.

    1. Would you feel the same if all the white characters were black? More importantly, how does adding these characters impact you? Face it, there’s absolutely zero impact for you by having Apple add these characters and all you’re doing is whining about other people in the world getting characters that better reflect them.

      Race isn’t an emotion, but it is an identity. And the Unicode 8 expansion is about accepting new submissions globally to the Unicode Consortium which not only includes character modifications, but new emojis that represent flags from countries that were missing in Unicode 7. Not small new countries, but countries like Mexico were missing.

      Again, why are you upset about this?

  4. It’s about choices. You can pick a Simpson’s yellow emoji if you like. They’re still available! Nobody makes anyone use these. If it doesn’t matter to you, then great, use the old ones. Nobody’s upset about that.

  5. But first we need better descriptions for these ☺️race neutral round yellow faces: what emotions they are supposed to represent?
    Mouth open doesn’t say much…😏
    Then there many non facial emojis that are completely incomprehensible😣
    Skype had much more useful collection…

    1. Enojis all have actual definitions for what they represent. This defined in the Unicode 7 (soon to be Unicode 8) specification. The actual rendering of them is up to whatever platform, but with rare exceptions, they’re usually very similar.

      When DoCoMo first had emojis, they were much smaller resolution (bitmap) at 12×12 pixels and were black and white with no race.

      When Apple proposed them to the Unicode Consortium, as you would expect from Apple, they offered scalable full color characters and introduced many new characters that are either not-racial or of the ones that are racial, are either all white or racial stereotypes.

      Skype didn’t have a much more useful collection of emojis. Nobody does. That’s the whole point of Unicode. It’s a unifying encoding so that all platforms around the world can include all characters in a way that every platform can decode. Skype, and other platforms, may have other characters, stickers, etc…, but they aren’t Unicode and won’t translate outside of their closed system.

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