Apple: The emoji character set needs more diversity

While you can find Santa Claus, a bloody syringe, and seven kinds of birds, you’d be hard-pressed to find many people emojis that aren’t Caucasian.

screen-shot-2014-03-26-at-4-47-05-pm.png
The Unicode standard icon set of face emojis.

Ever notice that the emojis available on Apple products include a bunch of white people, an Asian with a cap, and a darker-skinned man in a turban? Latinos, African-Americans, and many other races aren't represented.

In the day and age when emojis have become ever-present in texts, chats, on social media, and even in e-mail -- this lack of emoji diversity can prove challenging when trying to get the message across. That's why MTV contacted Apple's Tim Cook to ask what was up.

Apple's response: We're working on it.

"Our emoji characters are based on the Unicode standard, which is necessary for them to be displayed properly across many platforms," Katie Cotton, Apple's vice president of worldwide corporate communications, told MTV. "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."

So, Apple hasn't necessarily been holding back on diversifying emojis. It, like many other companies, apps, and programs, uses the Unicode standard icons. To get more diverse emojis that work across platforms, the Unicode Consortium needs to update its standard icon set -- which is something that tech giants like Apple, Google, and Facebook can help lobby for.

About the author

Dara Kerr, a freelance journalist based in the Bay Area, is fascinated by robots, supercomputers and Internet memes. When not writing about technology and modernity, she likes to travel to far-off countries.

 

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