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Is Using Different Emoji Skin Tones Considered Racist?

Skyler Martin, Staff

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Is using different emoji skin tones considered racist?

“The emoji are being used to make racist comments on social media and insert questions of

race in texts and tweets where it may never have arisen before. Instead of correcting its mistake

— excluding people of color from emoji — Apple has, in some ways, made the situation

worse.” (https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2015/04/10/how-apples-new-
multicultural-emojis-are-more-racist-than-before/?utm_term=.377753eca4f8). “Apple should

have simply removed the racialize emoji altogether.”

Apple actually uses a dermatological scale to determine the way the colors are made.

According to The Washington Post, “The yellow face, Unicode makes quite clear, is not part of

that scale. It has nothing to do with skin tone. Instead, it’s supposed to be a “generic

(nonhuman)” default — the ethnically neutral, post-racial character you can whip out when you

don’t feel like getting into the subtleties of your emoji’s identity.”

The yellow smiley face was designed in the 60s by an artist for an insurance company. It soon

became one of the mascots for the ’70s, and is now a widely used emoji and still adorns bags,

T-shirts, and many more things including phone cases.

So is using a skin tone on your emoji racist? Many people have different opinions, but in the end, it’s all about being nice to your friends when you’re texting them and making sure to not overuse it. If you use a different skin tone, make sure you won’t hurt your friends while using the different skin tones.

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Is Using Different Emoji Skin Tones Considered Racist?