🤷 Race and Emojis
Emojis used to be simple. It used to be that all I had to do was search for one and then use it. There was a problem with them though. If you picked an emoji of a person 👱♂️ or a body part 👍, every single one was (is) jaundice.
I have some theories around this. They mostly revolve around the global conspiracy of the secretive Jaundice Illuminati, but it’s not safe for me to discuss that in any detail here. Also, jaundice isn’t funny, so even if you smirked at that sentence, you are probably a horrible person and need therapy.
The point is that yellow emoji people are seen as racially insensitive. Even if they are yellow and suffering from a medical condition, most people agree that it’s based on Caucasians. To fix that, the emoji gods created skin tone options. That all leads to the reason I’m writing this post.
Which emoji should I choose?
When I first saw this option, I was petrified. Because of my unconscious, tone-deaf, and I assume occasional toxic male white privilege, I immediately had to think about who I might trigger based on which one I would choose.
Here’s just a sample of some of the thoughts that raced through my mind when I was first confronted with this choice:
- How white am I? I’m probably the first choice white, but I like that second one, and I am more tan in the Summer. Oh, but then people will think I’m pretending to be Hispanic. Okay, the pasty white version it is.
- But wait!? Why am I even thinking about race? Choosing this might come across as how important it is that people know I’m white (which I don’t). “Hey, look at my white thumb, you non-white person!” Okay, the obvious choice is to not choose it and to just stick with the yellow default.
- Oh, that’s exactly the problem with society today. White people don’t think about their race because they don’t have to. That’s what makes them so insensitive to the crap people of color have to deal with every day. Shit! Shit! Shit! I’m going to choose the white one so everyone knows I’m woke
- Now it feels like I’m trying too hard and it will be obvious to everyone. I think I’m going to just stick with the yellow one.
- Dangit, my friend who is black just used the darker skin emoji. I wonder what he thinks when he sees me using the yellow or white emoji? Which one is the right one to use!?!
How could picking an emoji become so damn complex? So for now, I’m just going to stick with jaundice. Mindless, yellow, potentially racially insensitive – and most certainly medically insensitive – default yellow emoji 👍