Are Apple emojis are a little bit racist?

26 March 2014

Apple is working on giving more cultural diversity to its emojis – because at the moment all the people on there are whiter than an EDL march.

It followed an email complaint by Joey Parker of MTV Act, who emailed Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, to say that there were no black, brown or Chinese heads in the emoji vocabulary. The email was forwarded that same day to Katie Cotton, vice president of world wide corporate communications.

‘Tim forwarded your email to me.’ She wrote. ‘We agree with you. Our emoji characters are based on the Unicode standard, which is necessary for them to be displayed properly across many platforms. 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.’

The last emoji update was in 2012 when they added some same sex couples to the mix. So when can we expect a multicultural cavalcade of differently coloured faces to tag onto our tweets and emails? Nobody knows yet, but maybe one day emoji-land will catch up with the rest of the world.

While they’re at it, could they also update their other emoticons? There are currently no emojis for gin and tonics or sex toys, which means it makes it hard for me to describe what I’m up to at the weekend.



  • Samyann
    Are Apple emojis are a little bit racist? No, emoji characters are based on the Unicode standard, as you accurately state in your article. Why is Apple the focus of your headline? If you’re going to aim barbs of prejudice, you might consider being fair in your journalism … aim the barbs at the Unicode Standard … or any manufacturer of any device that uses the same codes….like ALL OF THEM, not just Apple.
  • My O.
    ..and what about Native Americans, the Nepalese etc.. The main victims of racism now are white native western Europeans that are not allowed to keep their unique and distinct identity, culture, history, heritage and homeland. Israel however, steels Palestinian land, Palestinian water supplies and destroys Palestinian olive groves. Israel destroys Palestinian homes or takes them over. Israel created an apartheid state, but mentioning this makes you racist 'Anti-Semite' (whatever that means.)
  • Billybobjimbob
    Because, like, this is just so important.
  • Steve
    For God's sake...
  • Alexis
    I like how the alternatives they've presented are simply blacked up white faces. It's not racist to point out Africans and Caribbeans tend to have wider noses.
  • VulvaRevolver
    Make them all bright yellow like the olden days. Nobody has bright yellow skin in real life, so nobody would get offended. The smileys would transcend human racial differences and everyone would be happy.
  • Michael S.
    So much prejudice, if you want to read more on this narrowminded subject check out hashtag #emojiethnicityupdate This is out of control and have nothing to do with racism
  • Algernon
    So the Unicode Standard is a little bit racist then?

What do you think?

Your comment