I was super hype when I heard that apple would be coming out with emojis ranging in skin color. I mean hey, last time I checked the world wasn’t white and if we were to stick with one race, why not at least venture towards a middle ground in terms of shade?
I had my first conversation about the new hit on the street with one of my college friends. She mentioned that she, being fair skinned, used the shade closest to her own with her black friends but the darkest shade with her white friends. Why she did that? She had no idea. Maybe she was proving something to herself. Maybe she wanted to make some subconscious subliminal statement. She wasn’t sure.
The next thing I noticed was people whose skin color ranged somewhere in-between emoji shades, almost always went a shade lighter instead of a shade darker. When I would mention using the darker shade, I noticed people getting super defensive. In one case, a person didn’t even want to identify with ‘that black ass emoji’. I was shocked. Especially considering that I identified most with the ‘black ass emoji’, and even more shocked when some would laugh at me for using the ‘black ass emoji’.
For another, the darker emoji’s were actually insulting! I, having all of my emojis programmed to the darkest shade, used it for a very dark skin friend of mine and she was offended!
The most extreme case that I’ve seen was with my best male friend (sorry, but I had too!). He, though another member of the HBCU family, color coordinated his set of emojis. The males were the darkest shade (as he is a dark skin brother), but the women were all two shades lighter teetering on not being identifiable as black at all, and the baby was the shade in between. He swore up and down that there was a purpose but… I’m still waiting to hear it.
So what do we do with this information? Are we afraid to be more absent of white or more full of black? People of color you tell me: are your emojis set to the shade lighter or the shade darker?
Could it mean nothing or does it mean everything?