Archived post

This is an archived post. Please click here to see the latest entries.

« Good Luck, Harvard | Home | Frozen Trees and People »

Skin Tone Emojis?

A number of years ago, a sign panel next to Collis/College Hall lamented that people of a certain color could not buy Band-Aids that matched their skin tint. Boohoo. This complaint occurred before the term microaggression had even been invented.

My first reaction was, “Who could possibly care?” Light pink Band-Aids didn’t match my skin tone either, and I managed to get through the day without feeling any trauma. My second response was to wonder if there really were sensitive folks out there who would pay extra money for a dermatologically appropriate bandage. Seemed like an entrepreneurial opportunity.

I never did see Band-Aids come on the market in a range of hues, though why not, right? After all, you can buy lipstick in hundreds of shades (not that I do). If the demand were really there, someone would meet it. But I guess that it wasn’t.

However, in a better-late-than-never move, Apple has now introduced an emoji-adjustment feature into iMessage. It lets you match some emojis to your preferred skin color:

Emoji Skin Variations.jpg

Curiously enough, the basic symbol in the above image was not really the color of anyone’s skin. Did you ever notice? Not me. I always just saw hands joined in supplication.

Is the world a better place now that we can match a preferred skin tone?

Addendum: A reader notes a product that I missed:

Great for albinos too!

Band-Aid Clear Strips.jpg

Addendum: A reader notes that I am way behind the curve on Apple’s effort to be sensitive — one from 2015, it turns out:

Post Emoji article Comp.jpg

The moral of the story is that anything about race today in America will be controversial. A generation from now, I expect that we’ll be dealing with nanoaggressions.

Addendum: Wikipedia reports:

Five symbol modifier characters were added with Unicode 8.0 to provide a range of skin tones for human emoji. These modifiers are called EMOJI MODIFIER FITZPATRICK TYPE-1-2, -3, -4, -5, and -6 (U+1F3FB-U+1F3FF). They are based on the Fitzpatrick scale for classifying human skin color. Human emoji that are not followed by one of these five modifiers should be displayed in a generic, non-realistic skin tone, such as bright yellow (?), blue [69] (?), or gray (?).


Featured posts

  • August 14, 2013
    Breaking: Of Crips and Bloods and Memories of Ghetto Parties
    History repeats itself, first as tragedy and then as farce, or sometimes it just repeats itself. From the New York Times on November 30, 1998: At Dartmouth College, white students at a ”ghetto party” dressed…
  • June 25, 2013
    Dean of the College Charlotte Johnson’s War on Students Part (2/2)
    Part 1, Part 2 Today’s post again recounts the events that befell the Freshman. However, the content of the Hanover Police department report reproduced in this space yesterday is supplemented by information from my own…
  • October 18, 2009
    When Love Beckoned in 52nd Street
    We were at San Francisco’s BIX last evening, enjoying prosecco, cheese, and a bit of music. A full year of inhabitation in Northern California has unraveled to me no decent venue for proper lounging, but…
  • October 9, 2009
    D Afraid of a Little Competish
    So our colleague and Dartblog writer Joe Asch informed me that the D has rejected our cunning advertising campaign. Uh-oh. The Dartmouth is widely known as a breeding ground for instant New York Times successes,…
  • September 4, 2009
    How Regents Should Reign
    As Dartmouth alumni proceed through the legal hoops necessary to defuse a Board-packing plan—which put in unhappy desuetude an historic 1891 Agreement between alumni and the College guaranteeing a half-democratically-elected Board of Trustees—it strikes one…
  • August 29, 2009
    Election Reform Study Committee
    If you are an alum of the College on the Hill, you may have received a number of e-mails of late beseeching your input for a new arm of the College’s Alumni Control Apparatus called…

Dartblog Specials

Subscribe by Email

Enter your email address:

Help, Pecuniarily

Please note

This website reflects the personal opinions of its authors. Any e-mails received may be published along with the full name of the sender. If you wish otherwise, please say so.

All content appearing at should be presumed copyright 2004-2018 its respective bylined author unless otherwise noted or unless linked to original source.




June 2018
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30