“Actions are the first tragedy in life, words are the second. Words are perhaps worse.” – Oscar Wilde
Dear Emoji Creator Team,
I am writing to you to inquire about the company policy regarding which skin colour emoji I am allowed to use on the messaging service via email or text messages. These days I am just scared about everything.
While navigating the delicate politics of both the racial sensitivities in the world, I would appreciate clarification on the best way to navigate each emoji colour option available. I think this has not been clarified yet and with all the confusion about gender, and LGBTQ++++, I need insight on which emoji skin colour I am allowed to use when texting, emailing or chatting. I can speak two languages and understand being yelled at in six, but I am not as well-versed in emoji etiquette and would appreciate some guidance on this matter.
Currently, there are six colour options.
Originally “Simpsons yellow” was clearly the safest choice. It signified the “everyman” of the emoji. But is this a cop-out? Does the yellow represent the cowardice of Homer (the cartoon, not the poet) and his people? Am I making a statement by trying not to make a statement? And what about Apu and Carl, why were they not yellow?! Where’s their statement?
This is just for white people, right? Like, if your name is Herbert, Gunther, Heidrun and you don’t want to get into trouble with other white people, you pick this? Like, you know what you did and you’re ashamed. But how white is this one? Dying-by-gently-coughing-blood-into-a-handkerchief white or detonating-thirty-liters-of-gasoline-at-a-baby-gender-reveal-party white because according to the parents the baby wants to choose its own gender? Because those are two different kinds and that doesn’t seem fair.
Is this the same person as above but without shame? They spent the last two weeks in Floribama and came back with a weird rash from the Airbnb hot tub? Or is this like the white person whose Linkedin page just says “DJ / entrepreneur” and is doing a cleanse with alcohol and cocaine?
Okay, so this one’s gotta be for a brown person, right? Does it matter that the lady in the Beauty Department at work told me that I have an autumn undertone rather than a spring tinge? Is there one of these that represents my sometimes red cheeks? What if I’m somewhere between a “Walnut” and an “Almond” palette? The lady called my shade “a1665e” Is this that one?
Am I supposed to be offended if someone uses this, or am I offending someone else by using it? Can a Black person and a brown person both use this? Like should I be outraged or raging? Or is there a future harmony where we acknowledge not all people, races, ethnicities, or genders are a monolith?
Not this one — I get that.
Thank you again for your help and support in this matter. I’d hate to let the complexity of my complexion put a blemish on my professional prospects.