“If you look at Apple’s emoji keyboard, what do you see?” asks this petition on Do Something, a site that doesn’t seem all that aptly named in this particular instance. (via Fast Company). “Two different camels. A smiling turd. EVERY PHASE OF THE MOON. But of the more than 800 emojis, the only two resembling people of color are a guy who looks vaguely Asian and another in a turban.” Hold on a second here, are emojis racist?
It’s both an easy and a complicated question to answer. Yes, because everything is racist. And no, because who gives a shit?
Easy for me to say as a smiling turd married to a camel, I suppose, but what about the underrepresented people around the world who want to communicate like pictogram-based Australopithecus afarensis? How must it feel to initiate a conversation with someone and not be able to press a button that lets them know you’re a lovestruck cat wearing a dress with a broken heart who is also, say, of Asian descent? Probably pretty bad.
Obviously having people of all different identity brands represented in popular culture is a universal good, because it further enables us to relate to one another and recognize that we’re all “normal,” not just the light skinned people. Normal, illiterate, isolated people staring at a computer and unable to complete full sentences.