New Emojis take on racial diversity



Those odd characters on your emails and text messages are about to see more diversity — sending a message that humanity comes in many colors.

New draft guidelines released Tuesday by the computing industry consortium Unicode offer a broader range of options for emojis, the ideograms used for various visual messages sent online.

“People all over the world want to have emoji that reflect more human diversity, especially for skin tone,” said the latest draft, released by Google’s Mark Davis and Apple’s Peter Edberg.

“The Unicode emoji characters for people and body parts are meant to be generic, yet following the precedents set by the original Japanese carrier images, they are often shown with a light skin tone instead of a more generic (inhuman) appearance, such as a yellow/orange color or a silhouette.”

The new guidelines offer characters “based on the six tones of the Fitzpatrick scale,” a standard used in dermatology.

Emojis were initially developed in Japan, but later adopted into global computing standards for use in electronic messages around the world.

The symbols may include anything from a yellow heart to a lollipop, but many are based on smiley faces.

The proposed changes still need approval from the Unicode consortium, but if adopted, could take effect in mid-2105.

“Of course, there are many other types of diversity in human appearance besides different skin tones: Different hair styles and color, use of eyeglasses, various kinds of facial hair, different body shapes, different headwear, and so on,” the engineers wrote in the document.

“It is beyond the scope of Unicode to provide an encoding-based mechanism for representing every aspect of human appearance diversity that emoji users might want to indicate.”



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  • xris.

    Well stated Ruto. When you consider that we are a country of 43 Million people & still counting, even if one considers that maybe only half of this population Banks, What %age of this does 20,000 people work out to!!

    The only viable explanation is the simple fact that Kenyans are not only vastly exploited by our Banks , but we are also being shamelessly ripped off!! Its now imperative that the Jubilee Gov. come to the aid of the ordinary mwanainchi & reduce these rates,& while they’re doing so , please sack that arrogant CBK Chief Ndung’u, immediately!

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