In class on Thursday we briefly mentioned that with the new iPhone update there came a new emoji keyboard. With this new keyboard came the ability to change the color of the skin on many of the human looking emoji faces. In class, however, we did not fully dissect the ramifications of this change. One person made the comment that they could see these new emoji’s being used by people to spread their prejudiced views. The question that came to my mind: Does this change do more harm than good? In the old version of the keyboard it is very clear that the faces, the hands and the people are all white. While at first it seems progressive of the emoji makers to allow the option to express different skin tones, it appeared to me that such a move that creates racial distinctness could further the racial divide. In one of my other classes we talk of how the idea of race was developed by European philosophers to classify people of the world and that over time this idea has evolved to the classifications we have today, the good and the bad. We also discussed that to move away from these racial classification boxes there is a need to break down the destinations that remind us daily of what race is. Perhaps the progressive move by the emoji makes would not have been to show different skin tones, but to use a color representative of no race, like the yellow/orange of the round smile faces.
Source: The New Emoji Keyboard