Representation Matters: part 1


Is it just me or has anybody else ever hesitate which emoticon to send sometimes? If you really look at it, out of 6 “choices” we have, it just does not represent at least thousands to millions of other people accurately. Considering the time of diversity and inclusion we’re in currently, and oh what a time it is, to be alive (touché, Drake), you would think that multi representation would be more considered.

Now as a retiring overthinker (we workin’ on it, B), when you’re trying to make a good impression via texts, I’ve caught myself once to many times asking Apple psychically like, why can’t I sent a black haired emoticon with darker skin tone?

This brings up the topic of colorism and white supremacy. I mean, sheesh, Apple didn’t even release this people-of-color emoticon options until 2015. I’d include a link but I’m typing from the medium app and still new to this. There is, no doubt, an international program that is shifting & I’m noticing it is shifting more predominantly in the Black community about acknowledging and normalizing all shades of brown. I smirk because I think of my cousins in the Philippines who have been brainwashed to think fair skinned means you’re superior over others. We have whitening products galore. Rex Navarette jokes about his sister, “Joy — you’re too dark! Get inside!”. You’ll find lyricists such as Ruby Ibarra & Rocky Rivera claiming the same thing in their art. I’ve traveled to sunny places with some non-PI friends and witnessed them sitting in the shade because they “didn’t want to get too dark”. While I acknowledge anyone’s autonomy, insert my black hair, darker skin tone, GAGGING emoticon at this colorism program *here*. Have y’all even noticed the fair skinned/white emoticon received another rendition (blond hair) before the creators considered to make a emoticon that represents millions of others like myself: darker API-appearing users with black hair. As Ali Wong would say, these “jungle asians” (synonymous to “field” versus “in the house” workers) are yet to become acknowledged, especially on camera and in Hollywood. Is it because darker, indigenous API natives (& while we’re at it! Indigenous Native Americans!) are busy trying to acquire internet access in the jungle and/or waking up from the “yes ma’am/no sir” polite AF programs. If you don’t believe me, travel to the Philippines and name a brown skinned “field” worker that wouldn’t address you as ma’am or sir. OR, maybe they don’t give a damn and laugh it off.

While I loved the Fancy Rich Asians movie, it can’t stop there. Can we get a Fancy Indigenous Asians/Peoples movie?

At the end of the day, this is not the end of the world. But I just couldn’t help but wonder 😏. The GOOD NEWS IS, there is a shift in media representation and acknowledgment of API (men), or different ethnicities and backgrounds. Slowly but surely. It just feels counterintuitive because I know API folx are absolutely more productive and efficient than the pace we are currently witnessing. But I digress for now…

So to all those I’ve texted & judged my choice of emoticon (ahhh come onnn you know you did, even for just 0.5sec) why I keep going by skin tone rather than hair color, this is why.



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BS, MPH, CHLC, MFTc. Brown decolonizing, millennial, alchemizing wombxn. Writings are usually off life’s impulses. I am not an expert, but I am experienced.