By: Taylor McKenna
Emojis are a fun way for people to communicate using a smart-phone. While there are many reasons people love using them, like the fact that there is an alien, there is a ton of controversy due to the race indicated by many of the emojis.
When choosing to send a friend a sassy hair flip or a cute family, the options are not very inclusive. Each emoji is usually Caucasian, leaving little room for diversity. This is a major issue, as it is offensive to people of other races.
Recently Apple released a new update for their emojis, which includes various skin-tones to be chosen from when selecting an emoji. While this was a well intentioned effort at fixing an offensive issue, the new emojis have taken a turn for the worse.
“While it is outstanding for racial diversity to be applied in all aspects of our society (though in regards to emojis, it seems long overdue), it is important to take these accomplishments with a grain of salt. While there are steps, racism is still institutionalized deeply in our culture, and recognizing that is the only way to abolish it. While it is not the fault of Apple that people are using these emojis in all the wrong ways, it cannot be ignored simply because the emojis are available,” said (AHS) senior Tony Bollino.
People now feel compelled to use the emoji of their skin tone, taking the issue of race into what should be a minuscule part of life.
“I feel like the new update helps me communicate with my friends, but it still seems odd the way Apple did it,” said AHS senior Amy Tundel.
On April 10, the Washington Post stated that Apple has taken the easy way out, as instead of creating culturally diverse emojis, people can just choose to make the white ones different in race, basically whitewashing and making a joke of the situation entirely.
Not only is that an issue, but the new emojis have been used on social media platforms as a new way to make racially insulting comments. One of the most obscure of these is a photoshopped list of the emojis, including the late Michael Jackson’s face showing his progression from black to white.
It was a lighthearted attempt to end controversy over emojis, but created a larger problem than before. While some are happy with the ability to choose their race, some find it offensive, which is contributing to the original issue.
“I think they are helpful because not everybody agreed with the one skin tone and now that there are more shades it shouldn’t be controversial,” said AHS senior Aleisha Campbell.
Some teenagers said the update helped the situation, like AHS senior Brittany Dixon who said, “I feel like they shouldn’t have changed it, but I like how they put the different races in. It makes them more inclusive.”
AHS senior Tiffany Tong also thinks the diversity is a good thing, saying “go diversity.”
It’s true that the update has made the emojis more inclusive. “I think it’s honestly a good idea but it would have been better if they had focused more on culture and less on race,” said AHS sophomore Jared Winn.
AHS alumni Giovanni Carcamo said, “The state of mind this country is in now, I don’t think it’s the right time yet because more examples will come up of how races are still not equal, so this is ammunition for the fire. We are just not 100 percent ready for this step because we will go back to old ways.”