Interracial families still aren’t part of the deal
Facebook prides itself as a pioneer, but emojis-wise, it’s neither Moving Fast Nor Breaking Things.
The world’s largest social network has just unveiled 125 new emojis, including multiracial family combinations. For the first time, you’ll be able to post graphic representations of families on Facebook’s website— but not yet via Messenger or the mobile app— in skin tones that aren’t the default yellow.
That’s a plus for African-American families and others who don’t identify with shades of saffron. The family combinations represented also include gay parents as well as single dads and moms, but more keen-eyed internet users were quick to note that interracial families still weren’t incorporated. So that means if you have an Asian dad and a Hispanic mom and your skin color isn’t uniform, you won’t see yourself in Facebook emoji.
Facebook can’t plead ignorance either: its Mandarin-speaking, white chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has a child with his Chinese-American wife Priscilla Chan. This isn’t just some niche issue for the social network, which has around 220 million active monthly users in America. 50 years after the United States Supreme Court struck down anti-miscegenation laws, the country is looking more mestizo.
The number of interracial married heterosexual couples grew by over a quarter between 2000 and 2010, and now comprise 10% of all married pairs, data from the U.S. Census Bureau show. They also make up 21% of all unmarried same-sex couples.
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Apple doesn’t have interracial families as a default emoji option either, though it introduced iconography in multiple skin-tones as far back as 2015. (Then, some were concerned that it was being used by white supremacists for racist purposes.) An add-on app allows you to represent multi-racial couples on iOS, and the tech giant has also recently revealed an emoji of a Muslim woman wearing a hijab.
Ironically, stereotypically stodgier and older Microsoft has also gotten into the game quicker than its younger Silicon Valley competitor. The parent of XBox and Windows released diverse family emoji over a year ago, per TechCrunch.
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