Opinion: Big White Planet discriminates with emojis

Anne Buie

Stephanie SansoucyCurrently, there are 58 smiley face emojis, a gay couple, a pair of lesbians, 29 white emoticons, an Asian man, emotional cats, expressive monkeys and icons for different holidays across the world.

And yet, there are not any black emojis.

When the emojis first came out, I assumed it was an oversight by the creators. But after downloading the iOS 6 upgrade on my iPhone, I am not so sure anymore.

The company that makes emojis, ironically named Big White Planet,  is based in Kounov, Czech Republic, according to bigwhiteplanet.com.

In the Czech Republic, there are three major ethnic groups: the Czechs, the Moravians and the Slovaks, which all make up 96 percent of the population. The other four percent are listed as minorities, according to cia.factbook.gov.

Therefore, it could be said that since the Czech Republic is home to very few people of African descent, the company doesn’t realize they are missing from the repertoire of emoticons.     

However, if I were a global company marketing an app that has the potential to sell to every iPhone user, I would think about including more races in the emoticon menu before putting in every phase of the moon’s lunar cycle.

From a business perspective, it only make senses to expand the diversity of your product to match the demographics of all of your consumers rather than restrict it to a handful of audiences.

Our modern society makes a conscious effort to end discrimination in every way possible.

The United States government has set up anti-discrimination laws for schools, sports and employment. “Politically correct” is a household term. Even the Disney princesses jumped on the bandwagon when they added Princess Tiana from “The Princess and the Frog,” Disney’s first black princess.

Yes, we live on a big planet. But it’s time for us to be all-inclusive, even when it comes to emoticons.


Stephanie Sansoucy, a freshman journalism major from Raleigh, is a senior news reporter.