New Emojis, Same Old Lack Of Diversity

On Monday, software text regulator Unicode Consortium announced it'd added 250 glorious new emojis to the emojipedia. The new emojis are part of a Unicode 7.0 software update from Apple, Google, and Microsoft, but each tech company will decide which new emojis to add to its platform. One major problem: The new emojis aren't any more ethnically diverse than the old set.

Last August, a petition was launched to urge Tim Cook, Jony Ive, Eddy Cue, and Craig Federighi of Apple to add more diversity to its emojis. The petition originally stated:

If you look at Apple’s emoji keyboard, what do you see? 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.

And the two somewhat ethnic emoji aren't exactly the most progressive, as they both look like they stepped out of the 18th century. The petitioners called on Apple to add at least four faces of color — a man, a woman, a boy, and a girl — to its lineup, which currently includes zero black people. Given that 56 percent of the African-American community use smartphones, it's about time that they were represented.

Even before the petition started, Miley Cyrus was already on top of the issue, tweeting:

And you know a topic is serious when Miley is tweeting about it.

This March, Apple responded to the plea by promising that they would work on adding more ethnically diverse emoji to its keyboard.

"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," Katie Cotton, vice president of worldwide corporate communications for Apple, told MTV. "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."

So what has Unicode come up with? Its latest announcement of 250 additional emoji characters, surprisingly, still makes no mention of more ethnically diverse people. The firm has, however, added a whole buffet of emoji that are completely irrelevant to 99 percent of people's lives. Take a look at some of the new additions that we would gladly trade for ethnic diversity, along with some old ones that we've never found a use for, and probably never will.

New Emoji We'll Never Use

  • Lower Right Shadowed White Circle
  • Upper Right Shadowed White Circle
  • 13 New Pointing Index Fingers
  • Pocket Calculator
  • Black Hard Shell Floppy Disk
  • White Hard Shell Floppy Disk
  • Soft Shell Floppy Disk
  • Tape Cartridge
  • Wired Keyboard
  • 12 Variations of a Blank Piece of Paper (Note, Empty Note, Document, Empty Document, Page, Empty Page, etc.)
  • Clockwise Right And Left Semicircle Arrows
  • Cancellation X
  • Increase Font Size Symbol
  • Decrease Font Size Symbol
  • 16 Variations of a Leaf Pointing in Different Directions
  • Man in Business Suit Levitating

That last one baffles me. It's like the good people at Unicode wanted to counterbalance all the boring office supplies with something one of them hallucinated during an acid trip.

Old Emoji We Never Use

  • The Blowfish
  • Neither Realistic-Looking Dragon
  • None of the 13 Moons
  • The Potted Bamboo Plant
  • None of the 3 CDs
  • None of the 4 Speakers
  • The Weird Lock and Ink Pen Combo
  • Nothing on This Page:
  • Or This Page:
  • Or Anything in the Entire Last Section:

What We Could Really Use

  • Humans Who Are Not White