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Communities are increasingly multicultural, so much so that William Frey predicts in his book “Diversity Explosion” that the USA will have a minority white population by 2045. With such mixed social groups it appears logical that we welcome Apple’s 2015 range of multicultural emoji’s. However, this is a somewhat bizarre range of male and female characters including father and mother Xmas and a boy and girl Ziggy Stardust. All characters are offered with a range of alternative skin colours.

Researchers from Drexel University in the USA have found these figures increasingly used in racist texts on social media and they also found ‘tension amongst users’ who feel compelled to select their own skin tone “as using another emoji colour can be insulting”.

71% of US software engineers are white males. So it is surprising that the academics were unable to find any evidence that community groups were contacted to help explore and develop the ideas. Also, neither Apple nor their partners the Unicode Consortium, used any research to guide them with this sensitive issue.