The good news: In July, 250 new emojis will be added to the emojipedia.
This means two things: The middle finger is now an option, and we can finally have access to faces and hand gestures that aren't just white people or the token brown guys:
Image Credit: iEmoji.com
The bad news: False alarm — the whiteocracy is here to stay. According to the list of new choices, not a single black or brown face will be added. That means instead of this:
Image Credit: Tri Branch, PolicyMic
We keep this:
Image Credit: Oyster
Plus some truly important additions, like "Hole," "Tape Cartridge" and "White Hard Shell Floppy Disk."
The background: These omissions are baffling considering Apple's alleged commitment to diversifying its emoticon options.
In the past few years, the push for EOCs (emojis of color) has sparked a broad cultural debate:
I'm really feeling some sort of way that there are no emoticons that look like me.— Questlove Gomez (@questlove) March 24, 2014
It makes me mad that there are no black emojis...— Tahj Mowry (@Tahj_Mowry) March 16, 2014
RT if you think there needs to be an #emojiethnicityupdate— Miley Ray Cyrus (@MileyCyrus) December 19, 2012
But when MTV Act joined the party and wrote Apple an official inquiry letter, the response seemed encouraging:
"We agree with you," wrote Apple Corporate Communications VP Katie Cotton. "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."
What the f*ck happened? Apple failed, or possibly didn't try at all. The Unicode Consortium — which has final say over what becomes an emoji — is a separate entity, but it seems unlikely that a huge corporate partner like Apple would have trouble pushing this through, especially after being so roundly berated by customers.
Either way, it's game over: Unicode's 7.0 update is poised to introduce the new emoji set as is, affecting Apple, Google and Microsoft platforms.
So what can be done? Try tweeting about it, or starting a petition — those work really well. If that fails, write a letter to Apple.
But seriously, major tech companies' failure to respond to these calls for diversity is discouraging — especially after explicitly stating their efforts to do so. I know it's a lot to ask that the most widely used emoticon platform in America act like non-white people exist, but look at it this way: These changes are more or less inevitable. The longer companies wait to get on board, the longer they'll be ridiculed for taking so long.
So far, Oju Africa is the only one that seems to have gotten the memo:
Image Credit: International Business Times
Your move, Apple.