Unicode could finally include interracial emoji in 2019


Interracial couples may finally be included in the next set of emoji.

A proposal submitted to the Unicode Consortium requests that there be five different skin tones applied to the emoji of two people standing next to each other and holding hands. 

The proposal includes emoji of interracial same-sex and mixed sex couples. 

It comes after users have long called for the Unicode Consortium to create emoji that reflect all different kinds of relationships, including interracial ones.

‘The lack of representation for diverse racial identities is a significant issue in an increasingly globalised society,’ the proposal states. 

‘With this problem gaining increased media attention, and since efforts have already been made to ensure the representation of non-heteronormative sexual identities, now seems an appropriate cultural moment to give people the opportunity to see themselves in the emoji world. 

‘Moreover, recent years have seen a large spike in the number of interracial couples and marriages. This ought to be recognized, especially given the current political environment,’ it continued.  

Popular dating app Tinder was listed as one of the co-creators of the proposal.

Tinder and Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian originally created a petition urging the Unicode Consortium to consider adding interracial couples to the upcoming set of emoji. 

The Unicode Consortium establishes the worldwide standard of emoji for all platforms.   

Tinder partnered with Ohanian, who is married to Serena Williams, in March, saying at the time: ‘Emojis are the universal language of the digital age…It may seem like there’s an emoji for everyone, but that’s not the case.  

‘While emojis for people of color and emojis for same-sex couples both became a reality in 2015, one group of people is still excluded from emoji representation: interracial couples. Isn’t it time all love was represented?’ 

Jennifer 8. Lee, another creator of the proposal, previously pushed for the creation of the dumpling emoji and founded Emojination, an emoji diversification project. 

The proposal notes how common interracial couples have become, citing a Pew Research study that says about 17 percent of new marriages and 20 percent of cohabiting relationships in the US are interracial or interethnic.   

Unicode Consortium has added several other widely-requested emoji in recent years.   

Earlier this year, in celebration of World Emoji Day, Apple announced it would add red-headed characters as part of a batch of 70 new emoji.   

Grey-haired, bald and curly-haired characters are joined by several new animals including a lobster, kangaroo, parrot and peacock.

Other highlights include new smileys, with a cold face, party face, pleading face and a face with hearts all featured in the latest update.

The new batch of characters will roll-out to Apple devices across the globe later this year as part of a free iOS software upgrade, the Cupertino-based company confirmed. 

Healthy eaters will be pleased to see a selection of new fruit and vegetables made available in the latest update, including a mango and lettuce.

Apple has also added a number of sweeter items, such as a cupcake and moon cake – a traditional Chinese dessert.

Superhero characters will also be joined by an infinity sign, a tennis ball, a test tube, and even an evil eye symbol.

While Apple said it is introducing 70 new emoji, the total number should come closer to 150 including all the available options for gender and skin tones.

It’s likely the new characters will come with iOS 12 when the firm pushes-out the update to iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch devices this autumn.

World Emoji Day is an annual event dedicated to the digital cartoons, which is currently celebrating its fourth year.

Fans are encouraged to share their thoughts on social media using the #WorldEmojiDay hashtag.

Jeremy Burge, creator of World Emoji Day, said he expects the new ginger emoji to draw the most attentions from users.

‘As always, some of the most vocal requests for new emoji are about representation, and this update delivers some of the most common requests,’ he told CNN.

‘In particular the redheads and curly-haired options are likely to be popular.’

Emoji are designed and coded by the non-profit organisation the Unicode Consortium, which has already produced more than 2,500 of the digital cartoons.

Each symbol gets its own spin from the companies that implement them, such as Apple or Samsung.

That’s why the emoji you send from an iPhone will look different when the message is opened on a Galaxy S9. 

It often takes several months for companies to pick-up new characters offered by the Consortium – and they don’t always take all of its recommendations.

When the Consortium announced in June that its latest set emoji 11.0 included ginger emojis, red-heads rejoiced on Twitter.

Twitter user @lukestringer90 wrote: ‘Finally. Equality for gingers in Emoji 11.’

@1_Kidney_Col tweeted: ‘NO MORE DISCRIMINATION. Give my [sic]my ginger emoji’.

Other users saw the lighter side to the addition.

@alecingle tweeted: ‘Today’s the day gingers get an emoji. Big day for you guys, great work. Stay out of the sun whilst celebrating’.


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