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An African company has just created the first black emoticons. How else can emoji diversify?
If you're a cat in love, there's an emoticon for you. If you're a pair of dancing twins, there's an emoticon for you. Heck, if you're a turd with eyes, there's an emoticon for you.
If you're a black person, though? Not so much.
Some users have been trying to get that changed for a while (including, oddly, Miley Cyrus, who bears more than a passing resemblance to Tongue-Out Emoji). In fact, more than 4,000 people recently signed an online petition asking Apple to incorporate "at least four faces with some melanin" into its standard emoji keyboard.
Approached about the issue last week by MTV Act, Apple agreed that "There needs to be more diversity in the emoji character set." The company hinted that some new faces were in the works, though it didn't say what or when.
But wait: another group has already beaten them to the punch. Oju Africa, a Mauritius-based division of mobile maker Mi-Fone, has launched what claims to be "the world's first African emoticon." Now available on Android but with its sights on iPhones too, the app consists of 14 brown faces from smiley to winky to yelling-with-tear.
All this has got us — and Twitter — thinking. What else is missing from our emoticon range? Who else needs representing in our texts? And why in Steve Jobs' name does the turd have eyes??
That last one we can't help you with. For the others, here are some suggestions.
1. Mixed-race couples
— Pamela Crouch (@pccrouch) March 28, 2014
Seems like the next logical step.
— mosq (@mosqApp) March 26, 2014
Also a synagogue, Hindu shrine, Buddhist temple...
3. Gay parents
— Siri Wikander (@siriwikander) March 29, 2014
In fact, they already do. Same-sex couples have been standard since 2012 — though the only "family" graphic still features a man, woman and child. Time for two dads?
— Amanda F. McConnell (@aMcC5) March 28, 2014
She may be kidding, but gingerism is a very real thing.
— Pamela Foley (@PamyDFoley) March 30, 2014
Um, ok. But currently the food is either hamburgers or bento boxes. How about some gastrodiversity?
Why are they all Human? #EmojiEthnicityUpdate
— De'vID (@dlyongemallo) March 28, 2014
We demand to know.