50 years ago, hundreds of thousands occupied Washington D.C. in what came to be known as The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, a rally led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. calling for civil and economic rights for African Americans. The march is widely credited for the passage of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964, which delivered to African Americans those freedoms they so desperately desired.
And last week, another groundbreaking announcement promoting cultural diversity resonated throughout the world, drawing similarities to that historic march five decades ago.
A spokesman for Apple announced that it will soon be expanding its Emoji database to include more ethnically diverse facial expressions.
The fight is over. The Emojis have won the battle.
But they still have a long way to go to win the war.
If you know what an Emoji is, it probably means that you use them too much, and should probably stop doing that. But for those who don’t know, they are the yellow faces that express different emotions via text message conversations.
Users of AOL Instant Messenger may remember that when you typed a simple “:-)” or “:-(” to express your mood, AIM would default the text to a happy or sad face. Apple took it one step further and created more than 400 of these facial expressions so people could more accurately convey themselves. But as various media outlets have reported, practically all of the faces are Caucasian.
Hundreds of thousands of Emoji didn’t quite storm the desktop of Apple CEO Tim Cook to demand equal rights, but a writer from (of all publications) MTV.com named Joey Parker did email the company to inquire about the lack of diversity. Shockingly, he actually received a response from Vice President of Communications Katie Cotton, who informed him about the forthcoming Emoji update.
With this news, years and years of Emoji misrepresentation is finally coming to end. A major problem has been resolved.
But why stop there?
Emoji Apartheid may be over, and while that is a great accomplishment, why doesn’t somebody tackle other human rights issues these emotive icons face on a day-to-day basis?
Emoji Suffrage: let’s get these buggers the right to vote.
Emoji minimum wage: let’s get them the money they deserve.
Emoji healthcare: let’s make affordable health insurance for Emoji available on healthcare.gov.
This MTV writer opened the floodgates, but he’s only scratching the surface. We need an Emoji Luther King Jr. to step up and take them to the next level.
Because they may have their diversity, but by God, they don’t have their freedom.