In June 2015, Apple iOS will allow text messengers to send racially diverse emoji emoticons. The old emoji had only yellow or white-skinned faces. The next wave will let you select five skin-tone shades from peach to dark brown.
If Apple makes it easy to preset the preferred skin color of all your emoji, a lot more black faces could start showing up in your text messages.
I, for one, am excited about using dark-skinned emoji. After all, until now the only dark-skinned emoji-faces have been these:
In contrast, here’s all the yellow or white -skinned faces (notice the cat ones):
It’s unclear whether Apple will let us change the color of cat faces to resemble different breeds or whether there will be a brown-skinned surfer and black-skinned Joker playing card emojis. Maybe those will stay white. We don’t know yet.
Being able to change the skin color of a lot of them though will allow me to finally share a face more like my own when reacting to text messages.
Will my white friends make their emojis faces a different color from their own, the same way that I occasionally play female video game and role-playing characters, just try something new? What will it mean if we keep using the yellow or white-skinned emoticons? Will that mean we are racist? Or lazy? Or lazy racists?
And what if a white friend sends me a black emoticon face one day? Will a black smiley face mean something different from a white one when my white friend sends it? Will it be a joke? Will it be a small acknowledgement of the many times that I’ve had to send a white faces as a reactions?
I imagine the black emojicon face looking into mine, neither I nor it entirely sure what to think.
(featured image via Dylan Pech)