This Week in Racism - There Are Still No Black Emojis

New emojis include the middle finger, the Vulcan hand salute, an optical disc icon, a chipmunk, and a black droplet. But no black <i>people</i>.

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Jun 19 2014, 6:46pm

Welcome to another edition of This Week in Racism. I’ll be ranking news stories on a scale of one to RACIST, with “one” being the least racist and “RACIST” being the most racist.

–Emojis—the text icons that have quickly become the most popular communications craze humanity has seen since the Gutenberg Bible—are getting a much-needed update. Sure, when you want to explain to a friend/co-worker/family member that you just painted your nails or saw a giant turd shaped like a pile of ice cream with eyes and a mouth on the sidewalk, that is taken care of. But what about when you need to tell someone that you're against all forms of piracy?

Lucky for you, the emoji update—250 new emjois in all—has finally encapsulated all of human experience in just a few colorful, eye-catching graphics... unless you're a minority.

Despite the repeated demands of non-white text-message enthusiasts all across the world, the emoji update doesn't have a single new brown or black face. There's still the cheerful, young Sikh boy in the turban, who presumably is supposed to stand in for all non-white/non-cartoon yellow humans. Also, there are the gay emojis, which everyone loves and are fantastic. Look at how cute they are! Seriously. I'm into the gay emojis.

The Unicode Consortium, a nonprofit that regulates computer-text-coding standards, has not issued a statement regarding their homogeneous view of humanity. According to a report on Mashabale, Apple, Google, and Microsoft are all members of this shadowy organization (a.k.a. "the Man") keeping the "brother" down. Instead of minority emojis, we got a wide variety of symbols that are sure to be useful in standard, everyday personal communication:

  • Circled Information Source
  • Sleeping Accommodation
  • Very Heavy Reverse Solidus
  • Downwards Rocket
  • South East Pointing Bud
  • Optical Disc Icon
  • Notched Right Semicircle With Three Dots
  • Chipmunk
  • Black Droplet

More than half of these I can't even picture in my mind and sound more like weird sex positions than emoticons. Did you know that famous pop star Sting is so adept at tantric sex that he's mastered the Very Heavy Reverse Solidus? I heard that Richard Gere once shoved a chipmunk up his Circled Information Source.

At least the droplet is black. Also, if you squint, the "No Piracy" emoji kinda looks like a Mexican person with an eyepatch. I suppose life really is all about the small victories. Of course, if you're still mad at the Unicode Consortium, you've got a leg up in expressing your disgust: There's a middle-finger emoji7

–On Wednesday, the US Patent Office canceled the trademark registration for the Washington Redskins football team. In a 2–1 decision, the Patent Office found that the nickname is "disparaging of Native Americans." Trademarks that are found to "disparage or belittle other groups" are not permitted by federal law. This doesn't mean the Redskins have to change their name anytime soon. It just means that the Redskins organization can no longer prevent other people from selling merchandise with the team name on it.

The Redskins' owner, Dan Snyder, has said on numerous occasions that he will never change the name, and former players have lined up in support of his decision. Instead of seeing this as an issue where a racial slur is being used as a team nickname in America's most popular sport, pundits like Rush Limbaugh are blaming this issue on—wait for it—Barack Obama. Hardly anyone takes Rush Limbaugh seriously anymore, but this might be a bigger stretch than when Rush tries to squeeze into his jeans every morning. RACIST

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