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Apple's emoji characters may soon show more ethnic diversity, report says

post #1 of 50
Thread Starter 
According to a report released on Tuesday, Apple is planning to update the emoji characters used in iOS and OS X soft keyboards with a new, more diverse selection of characters.

Emoji


Emojis, first introduced in Japan as an alternative to text-based emoticons, have become ubiquitous in messaging as the icons can quickly convey feelings with a picture instead of words. Of the large number of human characters available, MTV Act wondered why most were clearly of caucasian decent.

The publication wrote directly to Apple CEO Tim Cook and today received a reply from Apple representative Katie Cotton.

Tim forwarded your email to me. We agree with you. Our emoji characters are based on the Unicode standard, which is necessary for them to be displayed properly across many platforms. There needs to be more diversity in the emoji character set, and we have been working closely with the Unicode Consortium in an effort to update the standard.



While Apple's current list of emojis consists of various smiley faces, foods, plants and symbols, some are concerned at the distinct lack of diversity when it comes to ethnicities. There are a few generic representations, like Chinese, Indians and Russians, but other races have yet to make their way to the platform.

As noted by The Verge, Apple's last update to its emoji character set brought same-sex couples and families into the fold as part of iOS 6.
post #2 of 50
If I didn't know, I'd think this was an Onion story.
post #3 of 50

Emoji's are pointless to begin with, but if you must have them, then you might as well be thorough with the selection...

 

Perhaps more colors for ?

post #4 of 50
I'd like to know if the original emoji created by Shigetaka Kurita working with NTT DoCoMo's i-mode mobile internet platform team used Caucasoid-like features for the characters, if they originally had Mongoloid-like features, or if there were no human-like characters at all (just various forms of "smiley" faces). If the were Caucasoid-like characters then why didn't they use Mongoloid-like characters since it was strictly a specific carrier in Japanese at the time of its release? If it wasn't until some later time that the characters were made to look Caucasoid-like — perhaps when being added to Unicode — then why wasn't their a consideration for representing other general physical characteristics of the human race?


PS: I'm using scientific terms in physical anthropology and not any pejorative slang to which you may only be familiar.


edit: Country flags are woefully under-supported as well.

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post #5 of 50
See? You keep harassing the AI writers about Android nonsense on slow news days and this what you get! /s
post #6 of 50
Yes! I like using them and some black-looking emojis that don't have a turban 👳 would be awesome.
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post #7 of 50
Where are the be freckled redheads. Racism
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post #8 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

I'd like to know if the original emoji created by Shigetaka Kurita working with NTT DoCoMo's i-mode mobile internet platform team used Caucasoid-like features for the characters, if they originally had Mongoloid-like features, or if there were no human-like characters at all (just various forms of "smiley" faces). If the were Caucasoid-like characters then why didn't they use Mongoloid-like characters since it was strictly a specific carrier in Japanese at the time of its release? If it wasn't until some later time that the characters were made to look Caucasoid-like — perhaps when being added to Unicode — then why wasn't their a consideration for representing other general physical characteristics of the human race?


PS: I'm using scientific terms in physical anthropology and not any pejorative slang to which you may only be familiar

 

If you watch much Japanese anime you'd assume that all Japanese people are white.  It's kinda weird actually.

post #9 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by malax View Post

If you watch much Japanese anime you'd assume that all Japanese people are white.  It's kinda weird actually.

Do the Teeenage Mutant Ninja Turles count? Seriously though, I don't think I've seen anything but a portion of some weird tentacle cartoon playing on some of the monitors at a night club in Ibiza many years ago.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #10 of 50
I vote for troll face as an emoji.

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post #11 of 50

Immagine.  John Lennon.

An Apple man since 1977
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post #12 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by malax View Post
 
If you watch much Japanese anime you'd assume that all Japanese people are white.  It's kinda weird actually.

Okay, I'm probably going get a lot of flame for this but I will comment anyway. Clear and light skin is a cultural value in pretty much all Asian ethnicities. We see Asian women wearing visors and the like when they go outdoors because they don't want their natural skin pigment to darken. I think this goes back to the notion that wealthy people do not work outdoors doing farm labor, etc, where they would become suntanned. There is a lot of ethnic discrimination in Asia that most western Europeans do not know about. Dark skin is viewed as inferior. Yes we all know this is not actually the case but perceptions can be very strong cultural influences. This is also true in Latin America as well.

 

As far as there not being any people of color emoji characters are concerned, I think that there should be some unicode modifier that you could apply to the icon for skin tone because the anatomical features are not very distinct, it is just the skin tone.

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post #13 of 50

My car keeps crashing whenever I do 150mph. It's a design flaw. People tell me to slow down and drive normally but I should be able to use it as I wish.
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My car keeps crashing whenever I do 150mph. It's a design flaw. People tell me to slow down and drive normally but I should be able to use it as I wish.
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post #14 of 50

People who constantly obsess about race are racist. I loathe political correctness and I see this as a poor move on Apple's part.

 

If somebody wants more "ethnic" emoji characters, then they should turn down the brightness on their devices.

post #15 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by asdasd View Post

Where are the be freckled redheads. Racism

How about this?

 

http://www.madcoversite.com/mad030.html

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post #16 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Okay, I'm probably going get a lot of flame for this but I will comment anyway. Clear and light skin is a cultural value in pretty much all Asian ethnicities. We see Asian women wearing visors and the like when they go outdoors because they don't want their natural skin pigment to darken. I think this goes back to the notion that wealthy people do not work outdoors doing farm labor, etc, where they would become suntanned. There is a lot of ethnic discrimination in Asia that most western Europeans do not know about. Dark skin is viewed as inferior. Yes we all know this is not actually the case but perceptions can be very strong cultural influences. This is also true in Latin America as well.

As far as there not being any people of color emoji characters are concerned, I think that there should be some unicode modifier that you could apply to the icon for skin tone because the anatomical features are not very distinct, it is just the skin tone.

I hope not since you're only talking of culture. Even if not universally true (what is?) your argument seems to hold up to various anecdotal evidence I've certainly read over the years. Personally, I find a brown tone and dark hair typically referred to as Mediterranean or Latino to be the most appealing in terms of physical attractiveness. I've always wondered why that is. Is that interest simply a result of the DNA I was born with, something that occurred in utero, or some external stimuli I had after birth.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

People who constantly obsess about race are racist. I loathe political correctness and I see this as a poor move on Apple's part.

If somebody wants more "ethnic" emoji characters, then they should turn down the brightness on their devices.

I don't think you're a racist, but you do come across as being a supercilious bigot when you make say such things.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #17 of 50

The fact that people notice this sort of stuff and discuss its political implications is astounding to me. Personally I want to see some tranny emoji though with huge racks and giant johnsons.

post #18 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post
 

People who constantly obsess about race are racist. 

Almost everyone is racist. You are normal if you are a racist. Logically, it makes no sense but the notion persists in cultural perceptions. Obsessed is just a variant. The technical definition of racism means that you think another race is inferior but the practical definition is that you prefer to congregate with your own race or ethinicity.


Edited by mstone - 3/25/14 at 8:23pm

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post #19 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post
 

Almost everyone is racist. You are normal if you are a racist. Logically, it makes no sense but the notion persists in cultural perceptions. Obsessed is just a variant. The technical definition of racism means that you think another race is inferior but the practical definition is that you prefer to congregate with your own race or ethinicity.

The technical and practical definitions of racism are one and the same!

post #20 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Almost everyone is racist. You are normal if you are a racist. Logically, it makes no sense but the notion persists in cultural perceptions. Obsessed is just a variant. The technical definition of racism means that you think another race is inferior but the practical definition is that you prefer to congregate with your own race or ethinicity.

There is still a lot of overlap with this silly notion of "race" and cultural differences that might make someone weary of certain people in certain situations and/or certain places and/or certain times of day, but I don't think when all things are considered that the color of their skin is usually the deciding factor with most people.

The great thing about the Internet is we can't help but get more accustomed to each other's cultures. Even here on the this message board I know I have friends of many different ethnicities and from various counties which I've only deduced naturally after years of casual interactions and not from desire to know. Our connection here to each other is a love of technology and all those corporeal aspects that give us a physical form have zero impact in whether I consider a friend or not… and it's a beautiful thing.
Edited by SolipsismX - 3/25/14 at 9:42pm

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #21 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sporlo View Post

Emoji's are pointless to begin with, but if you must have them, then you might as well be thorough with the selection...

Perhaps more colors for 
?
Hey, that brown one belongs to Google or Samsung
post #22 of 50
Isn't the yellow emoji universal ?

while apple wants to add more emoji, other companies developp their activities and invest in startups like waze, oculus rift, whatsapp....

And the big question is:
Is J.ive in charge of these emojis design ??
post #23 of 50
If a Japanese writer of code, gets asked by a phone company to produce a collection of clichéd cartoon characters for use on Japanese mobiles, and he expresses a preference for pale skinned characters, does that make his work inherently racist? Good question. While we are at it, what about all those, to my mind irrelevant , Asian food and building and transport and festival references ? (I still love using them) Are they politically correct? Maybe the clue is in the label: Emoji ....sounds a bit Japanese to me. Haven't we just grabbed for our daily use, totally out of context, a very Asian thing (their written languages contain characters).
If an international body (Unicode) is charged with setting up an international standard, well that is a very different discussion, and surely must take into consideration the full diversity of users?
post #24 of 50
People need to get a grip, emoticons are used for the emotions they are expressing, and not to represent the colour of the sender. Diversity and equality is lovely and all that but come one - besides, most people use only the yellow faces so that's hardly white is it - unless your a Simpsons character.

Miley Cyrus is compaining about this, just because she has decided she wants to be black now and enjoy black **** doesn't mean anyone should listen to her crap

I am half Jamaican and half Scottish, so while they are on the topic they'd better make a brownish-beige face if they are talking about equality on not just stick us under the black umbrella like these RACISTS love to do hmph!
post #25 of 50
This is based on some ignorant person's comments made some time ago (exact same one).

EMOJI ARE ORIENTAL NOT CAUCASIAN! Originally designed for use exclusively in Japan, duh! You used to have to get a special app and code to unlock them, previous to apple enabling emoji outside of japan in iOS 4 or 5
post #26 of 50
As I understand it Emoji were at some point absorbed into Unicode and Apple absorbed Unicode in to it's iOS. The app that you referred to simply unlocked the Emoji embedded in Unicode, and thus the iOS. Apple adopted the Unicode standard (as others have also done) but initially locked the Emoji on the iPhone for some reason. Apple is now making representation to Unicode to update the standard to include more ethnically diverse characters in its Emoji set. The Emoji set included in Unicode was updated a while back.
post #27 of 50
I don't see any icons of Tasmanian natives. This is racism. /s

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post #28 of 50

Looking at Apple's current "People" emoji, I think I counted 139 icons.   The vast majority are circles with the color of the sun, which IMO doesn't represent any human race.   I count only 35 that could be considered "human" (although cartoon representations) and it's true that those are all Caucasian, although not a particular national group (they don't look Asian, for example).   

 

While I can see the argument that there should be brown-skinned versions of these cartoon characters, is this really an important issue?    I get something like 48,000 emails a year and I've never noticed a single one that had any of these Emojis in them.   In fact, until this thread, I didn't even realize they existed in the Apple character set.    The 18 Emojis available to post with also don't represent any ethnicity or race.    Examples:  :D ;) :grumble:  .   Come to think of it, I don't I've ever seen these in a post either.   

post #29 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sporlo View Post

Emoji's are pointless to begin with, but if you must have them, then you might as well be thorough with the selection...



 



Perhaps more colors for ?


 



Maybe one with some bits of corn?
post #30 of 50
I am afraid I will be politically incorrect and use a LGBT emoticon in the wrong way and offend someone. That would be worse than be labeled a global warming denier.

I think I will play it safe and go back to just plain text.

Anyone remember this guy?



No he is not a emoji or emoticon. He was born before Apple even started.
Edited by msimpson - 3/26/14 at 11:33am
post #31 of 50

Emojis: people with bodies are under-represented.

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post #32 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by msimpson View Post

No he is not a emoji or emoticon. He was born before Apple even started.

Accidentally created by Forrest Gump¡

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #33 of 50
It should be an Onion story, but there will always be some anti-white or white-guilt liberal stain somewhere who will find a way to see some sort of oppression where none exists, and rally to fix an imaginary problem in the name of "equality"...

God damn liberalism.

"PS: I'm using scientific terms in physical anthropology and not any pejorative slang to which you may only be familiar."

SolipsimX had to make this ridiculous disclaimer why? Because what I said above is the truth. Since he doesn't normally include disclaimers with his posts to avoid offending the ultra-offendable, I have to think he does not believe that most of you are uneducated morons who need such information spoon-fed to them, but who knows, maybe he is that arrogant.
post #34 of 50

yes, yes, but, the point I'm trying to make is that the first emoji were first designed by the Japanese, so they apply more to the Japanese culture and that, some american claims that the people emoji are caucasian, as if everything originates in the USA, yet, they are not caucasian, but, oriental, (look closely at the faces), this is how presumptuous americans can be (yes, I'm american too, and caucasian). Not  only the faces, but all the emoji, the first set did not have a pizza slice, but did have things like a noodle bowl, etc. Some pages are of symbols not used by americans.

 

Americans are not the only inventors in the world, in this case, the Japanese invented something that caught on internationally, so, while Apple added a few emoji w/iOS 6, and people more widely use it, now, somebody thinks there is a lack of diversity, when it is simply that we like something made in another country & culture and think it has to be adapted to american "diversity" PC. I don't agree or disagree, I just think it's presumptuous, and I wish people would quit quoting this person that has no idea what they are talking about. (The claim about caucasian people was made some time ago, unfortunately, repeated here and a couple other blogs sites.)

 

Also, the Emoji keyboard used to be found with the Japanese keyboard layout, not just by itself. (I think Apple buried it there on purpose so that people wouldn't get the wrong idea....)

post #35 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by echosonic View Post

SolipsimX had to make this ridiculous disclaimer why? Because what I said above is the truth. Since he doesn't normally include disclaimers with his posts to avoid offending the ultra-offendable, I have to think he does not believe that most of you are uneducated morons who need such information spoon-fed to them, but who knows, maybe he is that arrogant.

Is it arrogant to consider that anthropology may not be a hobby or career for the majority of people here on this tech forum? Is it arrogant to want to get out in front of any potential miscommunication without having to rewrite my entire post?

Is it arrogant to assert as the only possibility for my post script is that I must believe everyone here is an "uneducated moron" without any consideration that I may respect many of my fellow contributors to the point that I'd hate to offend them with terminology that may be read as racial outside of a very specific field of study that I'd take the time to include such a disclaimer? My anecdotal experience is that most people aren't professional anthropologists or armchair enthusiasts which may mean neural terms like Negroid and Congoid might be seen as derogative.

PS: Why go the passive-agressive route in your response?
Edited by SolipsismX - 3/26/14 at 3:15pm

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #36 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin Frost View Post

Emojis: people with bodies are under-represented.

Quote:
Originally Posted by msimpson View Post

I am afraid I will be politically incorrect and use a LGBT emoticon in the wrong way and offend someone. That would be worse than be labeled a global warming denier.

I think I will play it safe and go back to just plain text.

Anyone remember this guy?



No he is not a emoji or emoticon. He was born before Apple even started.
I prefer his dirt loving slacker kid,
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post #37 of 50
Wasn't Mr. Happy the first emoji?
"If the young are not initiated into the village, they will burn it down just to feel its warmth."
- African proverb
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- African proverb
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post #38 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin Frost View Post

Wasn't Mr. Happy the first emoji?

The one-eyed trouser snake? That Mr. Happy? 1tongue.gif (Honestly, that's the only association I have with that term)

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #39 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

The one-eyed trouser snake? That Mr. Happy? 1tongue.gif (Honestly, that's the only association I have with that term)

Whaaat? I'm talking about the childrens' books by Roger Hargreaves.
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- African proverb
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post #40 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin Frost View Post

Whaaat? I'm talking about the childrens' books by Roger Hargreaves.

LOL I've never heard of it.
Edited by SolipsismX - 3/26/14 at 8:05pm

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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