Apple emoji embrace racial, sexual diversity

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Apple emoji: beta OS X introduces new skin tones.
Apple emoji: beta OS X introduces new skin tones.

The forthcoming version of OS X includes an updated emoji keyboard featuring skin-tone variations based on dermatologists' Fitzpatrick scale

Apple has diversified the skin tones of its emoji characters on the latest beta version of its OS X operating system, with a range of five skin colors.

The pre-release update to Apple's operating system was sent to developers and includes an updated emoji keyboard featuring skin-tone variations based on the Fitzpatrick scale, which is a skin-color classification system recognised by dermatologists.

Apple has not stopped at representing racial diversity, but has also used its latest update to introduce emoji in same-sex relationships, including families with lesbian and gay parents.

Apple’s emoji previously only included three characters representing non-white people, including a man with brown skin wearing a turban, and a man in a Chinese-style skull cap with smaller and more slanted eyes.

The racial variations now come in a default yellow, with users able to select other skin tones — from white to dark brown.

Apple’s move follows pressure from bodies including the Unicode Consortium, which campaigns for software standardization and which last year drew up a plan proposing five skin-tone colors for emoji.

But campaigners are still bemoaning the lack of representation for ginger-haired people in Apple’s cast of emoji characters.

This article first appeared on marketingmagazine.co.uk.