Apple emoji finally embrace racial and sexual diversity

Apple has diversified the skin tones of its emoji characters on the latest beta version of its OS X operating system, with a range of five skin colours.

Apple emoji: beta OS X introduces new skin tones
Apple emoji: beta OS X introduces new skin tones

The pre-release update to Apple's OS X was sent to developers and includes an updated emoji keyboard featuring skin-tone variations based on the Fitzpatrick scale, which is a skin-colour classification system recognised by dermatologists.

Apple has not stopped at representing racial diversity, but has also used its latest update to introduce emoji in same-sex relationships, including families with lesbian and gay parents.

Apple’s emoji previously only included three characters representing non-white people, including a man with brown skin wearing a turban, and a man in a Chinese-style skull cap with smaller and more slanted eyes.

The racial variations now come in a default yellow, with users able to select other skin tones – from white to dark brown.

Apple’s move follows pressure from bodies including the Unicode Consortium, which campaigns for software standardisation and which last year drew up a plan proposing five skin-tone colours for emojis.

But campaigners are still bemoaning the lack of representation for ginger-haired people in Apple’s cast of emoji characters.


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