As the old saying goes, an emoji is worth a thousand words — especially when it comes to dating apps. Did love even exist before you were able to send a significant other a heart eyes emoji? Honestly, I’m not convinced. Whether you’re using dating apps or not, emojis have kind of become a universal language critical to most peoples’ texting experience. After all, why say it in words, when you can say it with an emoji? In a similar vein, Tinder began the “Interracial Couple Emoji Project” last year, which is exactly what it sounds like: a Change.org petition for “emoji equality” via emoji representation of interracial couples. More than 50,000 signatures later, Tinder’s campaign has officially been deemed a victory; the interracial couple emoji proposal has officially been accepted among the new roster of emojis for 2019.
The new emojis will be available in the fall, offering four combinations of genders and all the corresponding skin tone combinations for a total of 71 new variations. Emojis for people of color and for same-sex couples were authorized in 2015, so the goal of creating an interracial couple emoji, Tinder explained in the online petition, was to represent all types of love. One in six marriages in the U.S. were interracial in 2015, according to Pew Research Center — a significant jump from just three percent of marriages being interracial in 1967, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled such unions legal in the landmark Loving v. Virginia case.
“I’m signing because I’m a black woman crazy in love with a wild red-haired man, and I desperately want to see emojis that represent us!” one petition signer wrote. “I want to see people like me and my partner...two women, one black, one white,” wrote another.
“Tinder advocates for the freedom of people to live how they want to live and love who they want to love,” said Jenny Campbell, CMO of Tinder, in a statement. “The success of our Interracial Couple Emoji campaign shows how powerful the voices are of the more than 50,000 people who joined our cause by signing our petition; together, we affected change and ensured visual representation for interracial couples around the world. I couldn’t be more proud of this incredibly positive outcome.”
New emojis must be approved by the Unicode Consortium, a group of computer and software corporations based in Silicon Valley that are the gatekeepers of all things emoji. According to Reuters, the group approves roughly 50 to 100 new emojis every year, not including the different skin tones for human emoji. To be approved, emoji undergo a rigorous application and review process. People get really passionate about these apps, as evidenced by this 40-page proposal for an emoji of yerba mate, the popular South American tea .
"Tinder and the more than 50,000 people who signed their petition proved that love can not only move mountains, it can also help create emojis," Michael Jones, Change.org's Managing Director of Campaigns, said in a statement. The addition of the interracial couple emoji helps make the language more inclusive and representative of a diverse population.