White people like to take things that aren’t theirs and use them. This is fact. One of the things that white people have recently started using are dark-skin emoji.
Let’s talk about it.
When white folks use dark-skin emoji to describe their self
A TechCrunch piece published last fall lays out the emoji issue at hand.
In the piece, the article’s author Megan Rose Dickey discusses the intricacies and various feelings that arise in people when a white person uses a dark-skin emoji.
Dickey was confronted with this issue when she and her friend were texting. When her white friend used a dark-skin emoji, it made the author feel uncomfortable, like—as she states in the article—her friend was “trying to claim something that wasn’t hers to claim.”
When Dickey asked her friend why she favors using dark-skin emoji to represent herself, the friend cited two reasons:
1. She’s not as white as the white emoji. In Dickey’s words, “she pointed to the fact that she’s tan. It’s true, she’s not as white as the white emoji.”
2. She felt weird using the white emoji. In Dickey’s words, “her main reason was around the ‘weirdness’ of using the white emoji… [S]he was hesitant to use the white emoji because it could come across as oppressive — as if she was shoving her whiteness at [others, Dickey included].”
Dickey decided to research the subject further and found out that this topic is, indeed, a thing that people have various feelings about.
For example, in August 2017, “some people on social media [called out Kendall Jenner] for using a fist bump emoji in a skin tone that was darker than her own,” BuzzFeed reported. “[They] accused her of cultural appropriation.”
sister power…girl power 👊🏽 pic.twitter.com/QzIziXVV0A
— Kendall (@KendallJenner) August 16, 2017
As part of her exploration, Dickey did an informal Twitter poll and asked her followers if “it’s OK for white people to use emoji with darker skin-tones.” According to her totally non-scientific, yet highly interesting and illustrative Twitter poll, the answer is “no.”
Of the 239 people who voted, 54 percent said it’s not okay, 33 percent said yes it’s fine and 13 percent said “only if they’re tan.” So if we are going off these data, Dickey’s self-described tan friend may be in the clear; Jenner, however, is not.
Thoughts from the cam community
Emoji use is a vital tool in the cam community. So, we reached out to Lindsey Banks, a talented model, social media influencer and emoji user, to get her thoughts.
YNOT Cam: Tell us why you like using emoji. Also, what are your favorite emoji. How you use them in your personal life and at work on socials?
Lindsey Banks: Well, first, I love using emoji because [it is simple to use]! Second, it’s cute! My favorites to use are the “unikorn,” the “rock on” (it’s similar to the Longhorns Texas hand sign) and the music emoji. I integrate it with work especially to utilize the character counts on social media platforms.
Who is ready for my @unikorntvlatina takeover startin 8AM w me in Texas!
I’ll be online tmrw!
More info on 👻 Snap: Banksie231
🦄✨🤘🏽@UnikornTVLatina @UnikornTV #F4F #CamStar #CamGirl #Texas #unikorn #CamgirlTakeover pic.twitter.com/lVg15wE3jI
— Lindsey Banks 💰 (@Banksie231) April 14, 2018
We’d like your opinions on when white people use GIFs of black stars and people — what’s been described as digital blackface in reaction GIFs — and black emoji to express theirselves. What do you think?
This [concerning the above questions] has never really occurred to me as being an issue at all—I had to try really hard to understand what you meant, lol.
I’m not sure what your ethnicity is, but I think it’s interesting to think about when being asked on the aspect of race in my generation. No one has EVER asked me that question before, and I’ve had a lot of pretty intellectual conversations. I had briefly mentioned your article to my brother and a close friend (who advocates for a lot of currently important issues) before leaving for a trip.
In the TeenVogue article you sent over, my first thoughts are that the representation is important.
As far as the representation of exaggeration in the mood of POC in GIFs, has anyone ever wondered exactly why it is that a lot of POC have the exaggerated expressions, voices and even gestures in a lot of media? There’s a saying that “Riot is the voice of the unheard.” And that’s what this is. A very viral riot at that. To me.
I’m more of an active emoji user in comparison with GIFs and this is just me, but why do I have to feel like— (again coming around to make the deal about white people and the use of POC forms of media) — [that] there’s still more option for white folk with emoji!
Emoji began as an all white characters app, no? I’m brown skinned and was told before that blonde hair would not look good on my skin color. There’s still no emoji of a blonde-haired brown girl, and I will admit I second guess and prefer using the brown-skin emoji because I quite frankly don’t want to use the basic neutral-skin tone [one].
The option for white people to have the privilege of never having to even think, much less worry about, the representation must feel really nice, honestly. Kind of like when the unicorn and the mermaid emojis were finally released and everyone was so stoked about it! Am I right?!
I love straight forward bitches. They don’t play n will fuck shit up if you try to fuck with them. Don’t fuck with us
— Lindsey Banks 💰 (@Banksie231) April 17, 2018
Image via ba1976.