Emojis can be a powerful thing.
No, seriously! Don't believe me? OK, if a guy sends you a text featuring one of these , one of these and then one of these , then you can bet your ass Taco Thursday is getting replaced with "Take off your pants and stock up on Gatorade, it's gonna get wild."
The cultural impact of these little icons can't be underestimated, especially among Millennials who use them to communicate all different kinds of feelings, from awkwardness to whatever the hell means. For the first time in years, the developers behind the emoji keyboard language are adding new icons, including a middle finger and a chili pepper.
With such a wide amount of new items (the update is slated to feature close to 250 new characters), it really caught me off guard that the update won't include any culturally diverse faces. That's right, you're getting sexy new directional arrows, but people who look like me are left out in the cold. What the hell, man? You think of buildings and shoes, but I still gotta use the damn creepy dark moon face?!? Do you know how badly I want to use a little black emoji couple for when my friends get married? A cute little brown angel for when I post my adorable-yet-kinda-thirsty #ThrowbackThursday baby photo? When it comes to appropriately representing ourselves via a tiny image that indicates emotion so we don't have to spell, why are so many of us being left out?
This undoubtedly is the point in any Article That Has a Racial Tone(TM) when some misguided soul will argue, "It shouldn't just be about YOUR culture. What about the other races and ethnicities? What about all the shades people come in?" To that I say, they deserve emojis too!
Let's get the whole spectrum of colors, from Tilda Swinton so-white-she's-kinda-clear to darker-than-Djimon-Hounsou-in-a-Raiders-jersey black. All browns, reds, yellows and blues should be represented. (The blue one would be a dead body, solely to indicate a really bad hangover.)
Be it emojis, movies, TV or anything else, when people cry out for diversity, they aren't asking for some sort of totalitarian level of "fair" where everyone is exactly the same, and it bothers me when people think that's the goal. I want the opportunity to showcase my viewpoint the same as anyone else, be they or . While I realize the systematic failings behind issues like this, I don't think it's crazy to suggest that something as insignificant yet integral as the emojis on your smartphone should include faces that look like all of the people who use them.
Our similarities outweigh our differences. We should act (and text) accordingly.
Ernest Wilkins is Chicago's wingman.
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