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Snippet: Is It Okay to Use White Emoji? ☇

Shared on May 12, 2016

Andrew McGill for The Atlantic:

But this effect may also signal a squeamishness on the part of white people. The folks I talked to before writing this story said it felt awkward to use an affirmatively white emoji; at a time when skin-tone modifiers are used to assert racial identity, proclaiming whiteness felt uncomfortably close to displaying “white pride,” with all the baggage of intolerance that carries.  At the same time, they said, it feels like co-opting something that doesn’t exactly belong to white people—weren’t skin-tone modifiers designed so people of color would be represented online?

Prior to seeing this article, I had never thought of this other than the originally discussion to add skin tone modifiers to emojis. Although from a technical standpoint, yellow is the neutral default, but obviously different meanings and feelings are conveyed over time. As a white male on the pastier side of things, I recognize that I’m not qualified to speak about this in terms of what should and should not be used or what’s best for different races or ethnicities. However, it certainly is a thought-provoking conversation and worth checking out. If and when I use emojis that are modifiable by skin tone, my usage tends to be based on if it’s reflecting my voice or not. Maybe the default ones should be shifted from Lego/Simpsons yellow to completely white like cartoon character gloves?

Snippets are posts that share a linked item with a bit of commentary.