By Tristan Greene
Unicode today published†a blog post†with a link to a short list of the candidates for the 2019 Emoji 12.0 update. Making the list are 55 emoji representing interracial couples. And itís about time! I canít help but wonder though, why none of the little people in them look like me.
The Vergeís†Shoshana Wodinsky today†reported†on the proposed emoji candidates, saying ďitís a win for diversity.Ē Iím certainly not disagreeing, it is. Itís just not a complete win. Thereís a discrepancy in the hair representation. Blondes and brunettes are there, as are the raven-haired, but there isnít a ginger in sight.
The couples emoji in the proposal are represented in five skin tones and two genders, with plans to approach the creation of gender neutral emoji later. But, as is often the case, red heads got entirely overlooked. In fact those responsible for the proposal donít mention the word ďhairĒ at all. Worse, itís not even a future consideration. ďThis proposal would not be open-ended once all skin tones are represented,Ē write the authors.
But, for us, itís not about skin tone. Sure, as a 40-year-old white cis-gender male, Iím used to seeing myself represented in everything. But, as a red head Ė not so much. Even though gingers come in every nationality†and color†on the planet, weíre often an afterthought in media.
Duncan Crary, founder of†The League of Extraordinary Red Heads, told TNW:
A lot of people mistakenly equate red hair with being Irish (there are actually more Red Heads in Scotland, btw), but the ginger gene does not discriminate ó red hair sprouts from people of all races, nationalities and ethnic group. At least one to two percent of all the emojis out there should be ginger, to match our global population. And contrary to popular belief, weíre not going extinct.
I know thereís still plenty of groups facing under-representation, and if not getting my own emoji is the worst thing that happens to me today Iíll be a truly blessed person. Iím not asking anyone to come in late and work on figuring out the scientific formula for giving an emoji red hair ó I understand itís a delicate and tricky process involving quantum metaphysics and sorcery.
I just feel like itís a missed opportunity to make the entire Emoji platform a little more beautiful.
The League of Extraordinary Red Heads†will meet on 3 October in Troy, New York. Iím told there will be pumpkin-flavored ale served. Plans to discuss world domination are expected, but not confirmed.
Tristan Greene is a sailor gleefully writing about consumer-friendly artificial intelligence advances and political policy concerning tech.
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