There is an emoji of a lovestruck cat, but not one of a black person.
You may have noticed that the emoji keyboard, commonly used on Apple products, has a symbol for just about every occasion. You feel like grabbing some pho? BOOM. How about praying? You got it, buddy. For some reason, there is a grinning pile of poop. There are even two varieties of camels from which to choose.
That’s going to change, Apple says. “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,” an Apple spokesperson told MTV this week.
Emojis first became popular in Japan (which may help explain the plenitude of certain symbols and the dearth of others). A basic list has been developed and maintained by the Silicon Valley-based nonprofit Unicode Consortium since 2010.
To be fair, the emojis of facial expressions depict yellow-skinned individuals who look more like they are related to Bart Simpson than a real human being. But the characters engaging in synchronized dance routines, getting married, and painting nails are all white.
Internet petitions have been making the rounds, calling specifically for four faces “with melanin.” (Others are demanding a hot-dog emoji, so it appears that emoji activism can take many forms.)
It’s unclear when Apple will actually make this changes, and it’s actually kind of a difficult and long process to add a single character via the Unicode Consortium. But it wouldn’t be unprecedented; Apple included new same-sex couples to the emoji character set with a 2012 operating-system update.
The keyboard may seem frivolous, but the symbols have become a universal language, which users across the globe use to communicate with each other. And they’re even in the Library of Congress (specifically, Emoji Dick — an emoji version of Moby Dick). So given that higher percentages of adult Hispanics and African-Americans own smartphones than whites, it make sense to update the keyboard with faces and people who reflect some of their most common users.
Now, if only Apple can get Siri to be able to recognize half of the names in my contact list (it took me 15 minutes to get her to call my brother — I stuck with it as a matter of principle), then we’ll really be getting somewhere.
What We're Following See More »
The House voted down the otherwise uncontroversial Energy and Water appropriations bill Thursday after Democrats succeeded in attaching an amendment affirming LGBT job discrimination protections for military contractors. More than 40 Republicans supported the amendment, but when it came to vote on the bill, 130 Republicans joined all but six Democrats to sink the bill. Speaker Paul Ryan said Democrats voting against the bill after securing the amendment shows their intention was to scuttle the process. Democrats, however, blamed other so-called poison-pill amendments for their votes against the bill. Nonetheless, Ryan said he intends to continue the appropriations process.
"It's about time for unity," said UAW President Dennis Williams. "We're endorsing Hillary Clinton. She's gotten 3 million more votes than Bernie, a million more votes than Donald Trump. She's our nominee." He called Sanders "a great friend of the UAW" while saying Trump "does not support the economic security of UAW families." Some 28 percent of UAW members indicated their support for Trump in an internal survey.
"Airport screening delays have caused more than 70,000 American Airlines customers and 40,000 checked bags to miss their flights this year, an executive for the airline told a U.S. congressional subcommittee on Thursday. A shortage of staff and a surge in air travelers have created a nightmare scenario for the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA), with airport wait times in places like Chicago stretching beyond two hours."
"Donald Trump on Thursday reached the number of delegates needed to clinch the Republican nomination for president, completing an unlikely rise that has upended the political landscape and sets the stage for a bitter fall campaign. Trump was put over the top in the Associated Press delegate count by a small number of the party's unbound delegates who told the AP they would support him at the convention."