Emojis are Japanese icons adapted in several forms of cyber communication and have become popular in the United States since Apple incorporated them in iPhone keyboards. Emojis tend to represent minority groups in a stereotypical manner and do not represent certain minority groups at all, such as African Americans. Misrepresentation or the absence of minority groups portrays the social hierarchy and power granted to the white man. The highest members of the strata happen to dominate the emojis because the stereotyped icons show a lack of understanding and acceptance of other cultures in society.
There variation of white emojis range from age to different features, such as brown or blonde hair. The representation of white phenotypic characteristics demonstrates how society guarantees social acceptance of such features. Some white emojis, such as the image of the police officer, appear to hold positions of power, emphasizing the idea that minorities do not commonly occupy skilled jobs like these. In addition, the blonde princess represents that only pure and royal whites can obtain power. In fact, I am surprised that they do not have a white king. The white angel also shows white purity, while an image of white hands held up in a prayer position implies that religion or Catholicism is a white concept. In addition, the absence of non-white females demonstrates a lack of awareness of the intersectionality between race and gender in society.
The way in which emojis ignore minorities is obvious throughout social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook. For example, pop star Miley Cyrus began a cyber rebellion on Twitter over the exclusion of certain ethnicities in iPhone emojis.
Emojis have several meanings and can be used to carry out a conversation without the use of words. The language and culture emojis produce are essential in current social media since we use them so frequently. Yet, social media stereotypes or leaves out those who occupy the bottom of the strata. However, we still communicate the feeling of exclusion and racism without emojis or the use of words, emphasizing the power of social media and society. Will adding images of African Americans or addressing intersecting identities in iPhone emojis change anything? Unfortunately, I do not think offering one’s race a space in an emoji icon will give one more life chances, but it still demonstrates how systemic racism plays a role in even the smallest images and forms of communication.