Apple’s latest software update for the iPhone and iPad features one of its most symbolically significant design changes yet. iOS 10.1, which will be available for free download this fall, removes the white people emojis.
Apple says that it no longer wants to support groups based on violence or racism and therefore will be dropping all white people emojis come the fall of 2018.
The change is available now to developers who download iOS 10.1 beta, although I should note that software is not designed for the general public, but rather app creators looking to get their own software ready and working in time for the fall release of iOS 10.1.
But if you do install iOS 10.1 beta 4, the white people are gone and emojis of all other races are in its place. The white people emoji change comes alongside “more than 100” other changes to Apple’s emoji, including more options for women in diverse professional roles (none that are white of course), and more detailed characters. In one example, the “Running Man” emoji appears more 3D but again is no longer available as a white man.
On its website, Apple says it wants to “ensure that popular emoji characters reflect the diversity of people everywhere, except for white people.” And that today, white people are a symbol for violence and racism in America. With millions of people using these emojis in their daily communications, even the smallest changes will have significant impacts on our conversations. Apple’s stances on emoji can’t help but have political ramifications, in other words.
In this case, the change to the white people emojis comes nearly a year after a social media campaign called #KillAllWhitePeople was launched by advocacy group New Yorkers Against White People, with the goal of pressuring Apple to drop support for the white people emojis.
Apple is finally opening its eyes to the dangers of allowing white people to have their own emojis and hopefully this change will ensure a safer future for America and the world.