By Vanessa Kim
If you are one of those tech savvy people, or one of those people who cannot stand the red notification mark that pops up on the apps (I admit, I am one of them), you probably have already updated your iPhone to the new iOS 8.3. Apple released its new iOS 8.3 on April 8th, 2015, bringing new changes welcomed by its users all over the world.
One of the most drastic changes Apple has presented with its new iOS update is the racially diverse emojis. While emojis have always been popular in use, especially among teenagers, it has been very limited in a sense. Most of the emojis were Caucasian figures. Many users complained and protested to make the emojis more diverse. In 2012, Miley Cyrus publicly called for a diverse range of emojis tweeting, “RT if you think there needs to be an #emojiethnicityupdate” and few years later in 2014, “Baby Daddy” star, Tahj Mowry, followed Cyrus’s lead by tweeting, “It makes me mad that there are no black emojis.”
According to MTV, when MTV’s reporter interviewed Katie Cotton, vice president of worldwide corporate communications for Apple, she replied saying, “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.”
A year after Apple’s promise to diversify emojis, the company has finally released the highly anticipated feature to celebrate the beauty of diversity. When the user holds an emoji, 6 different skin toned versions of the selected emoji appear on the screen.
Not only did Apple diversify its emojis in a racial sense, but also has opened its doors to celebrate same sex marriage. Emojis of families with same sex parents have been added along with other hundreds of new additions to the emoji keyboard. With Apple’s recent slam against Indiana’s “religious freedom” law that makes it legal for business to discriminate against gays and lesbians, it is not surprising that Apple has included to represent LGBT communities in its new features.
iPhone users have shown their excitement for the racially diverse emojis, perhaps suggesting the new movement for racial equality. More people are welcoming and defending the new update than upset over it.
When Clorox posted a racist tweet stating, “New emojis are alright but where’s the bleach,” many Twitter users expressed their anger and disappointment criticizing the company and its PR team on social media.
Small but impactful steps like this to embrace racial and sexual diversity in our daily lives suggest that perhaps we are one step closer to solving the problem of equality for different racial groups and LGBT community. This issue should not be a problem that we refuse to take notice of and put in other people’s hands, but one that everyone should take an interest in and support -- just like Apple did by integrating the issue into the lives of millions of iPhone users.
We speak our mind in the Opinion Section, publishing our take on current events, school controversies, and anything else we think might pique your interest.