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

Posted:
in iPhone edited April 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 49
    If I didn't know, I'd think this was an Onion story.
  • Reply 2 of 49
    sporlosporlo Posts: 143member

    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 ?

  • Reply 3 of 49
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    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 [I]only[/I] be familiar.


    edit: Country flags are woefully under-supported as well.
    [IMG ALT=""]http://forums.appleinsider.com/content/type/61/id/40630/width/500/height/1000[/IMG]
  • Reply 4 of 49
    ajbdtc826ajbdtc826 Posts: 190member
    See? You keep harassing the AI writers about Android nonsense on slow news days and this what you get! /s
  • Reply 5 of 49
    Yes! I like using them and some black-looking emojis that don't have a turban ???? would be awesome.
  • Reply 6 of 49
    asdasdasdasd Posts: 5,668member
    Where are the be freckled redheads. Racism
  • Reply 7 of 49
    malaxmalax Posts: 1,598member
    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.

  • Reply 8 of 49
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    malax wrote: »
    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.
  • Reply 9 of 49
    I vote for troll face as an emoji.
  • Reply 10 of 49
    tylerk36tylerk36 Posts: 1,037member

    Immagine.  John Lennon.

  • Reply 11 of 49
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    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.

  • Reply 12 of 49
    gtrgtr Posts: 3,231member

  • Reply 13 of 49
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 9,233member

    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.

  • Reply 14 of 49
    kibitzerkibitzer Posts: 1,114member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by asdasd View Post



    Where are the be freckled redheads. Racism

    How about this?

     

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

  • Reply 15 of 49
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    mstone wrote: »
    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.

    apple ][ wrote: »
    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.
  • Reply 16 of 49
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,456member

    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.

  • Reply 17 of 49
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    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.

  • Reply 18 of 49
    adonissmuadonissmu Posts: 1,774member
    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!

  • Reply 19 of 49
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    mstone wrote: »
    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.
  • Reply 20 of 49
    sporlo wrote: »
    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 <img alt="" class="lightbox-enabled" data-id="40629" data-type="61" src="http://forums.appleinsider.com/content/type/61/id/40629/width/500/height/1000/flags/LL" style="; width: 160px; height: 160px">
    ?
    Hey, that brown one belongs to Google or Samsung
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