How emoji use can reinforce racist white supremacy

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History of the raised fist is incorrect. First usage was an IWW cartoon in 1917 and used by communists and anti-fascists well before its usage by Chicano and the Black Power movements. This is not to diminish that usage at all, but it’s part of a larger history of the raised fist as a symbol of resistance and liberation. Using it as a white person is not associated with white power outside of the context of, like, a klan rally.


“Using a [white fist] in support of #BLM does not erase its association to white supremacy.” Well OK glad that’s settled, random powerpoint creators.


It doesn’t seem like they are suggesting an answer. Speaking as a white(?) person - drawing attention to that fact by using the “cream” color emojis seems like a dick move. I can make these apple faces (or whatever they are) that I never use purple - maybe that is the answer. Honestly, I just want to do what is right.


I appreciate the emoji-skin-color discussion, it hasn’t come up yet in my own life but I definitely see the importance and don’t know the ‘right’ answer, I think it’d depend on the person I’m talking to and our relationship. Admittedly, I find it hard to imagine a situation where switching from yellow to lighter skin tone would seem like an improvement, but I’m certainly open to changing that opinion.

As for the fist - regardless of color, my own first thought is an ASL ‘s’, followed by ‘fist bump,’ the martial arts, with ‘black power’ much further down the list of possibilities. I mention this because context and cultural awareness are hard even for people living in the same country and actually trying to stay on the same page, especially for gestures. Humans have had the same body parts for a very long time, and gestures pick up a lot of different meetings.


My bad, thought it was a symbol of solidarity and support. According to the wiki: As early as 1914, a clenched fist was described by Mother Earth magazine as “symbolical of the social revolution.”


Soooo, yellow means white, because, uh… Simpsons, and white means racism because, uh… Internet clicks?
Cone on, we have a lot of very real problems, and emojis ain’t it.


Came here for this. :fist: has a long history as an anti fascist, solidarity, pro union etc. symbol which includes and does not diminish its use also as a symbol for racial justice. Solidarity means Solidarity.

I received a kickstarted union organizer kit just a little while back, and the enamel pin that comes with it is a solidarity fist. it didn’t require any explanation for how that identifies a person as pro union. It’s a well recognized symbol,


And Emma Goldman can’t be wrong.


In 1983 there was a local demonstration about racism in the taxi industry. I went, was one of the few white people.

But the loudest guy there was white, complete with a raised fist. He was no white supremacist, just one of those people who is overly outraged by something that isn’t his.

I wonder whether the more common use of the fist in the sixties was from the earlier use or because it was used for Black Power? That’s something I’ve never comeacross.


I thought the yellow was just because a happy face from the 60s or 70s was sunshine yellow.:slightly_smiling_face:


:fist:t2: pro-union. Solidarity forever!


I think it’s very valid to discuss the subtle ways that racism pervades our society and certainly the ways in which technology cements systemic racism under the guise of “unbiased” technocratic horseshit.

On the flip side, the path to liberation will not come via condescending white-on-white thought policing.


Oh, great, yet another intentionally incendiary topic on race at a time when racial tensions are already high a/f and people’s nerves are frayed to the quick.

As a PoC, I’m not generally too focused on what color of emoji other folks use, because I have bigger, more immediate problems to worry about.

(That said, I did appreciate the eventual inclusion of a variety of different skin tone choices, once some dev somewhere finally realized how White-centered the lack thereof was.)

I just love the inherent assumption of your comment.


This is really the heart of it and why the yellow “color blind” doesn’t sit well with some. It’s always been a deficiency of impersonal technology-based communication to not carry intention as well as personal communication does. Even as a cis-gendered white male, this issue has occurred to me at times, mostly when communicating with POC or anonymously on the internet.

During discussions of the recent protests, for instance, I have defaulted to :fist:t2::fist:t3::fist:t4::fist:t5::fist:t6: as a show of solidarity that hopefully indicates inclusiveness and ally-ship without erasing racial reality. However, that is, in itself problematic because it places the white fist first (which is also the order on the keyboard).

The whole point of any discussion of race is that it is inherently problematic because we have made race a problematic issue in society. After misogyny, race is the most abundant form of discrimination and is 100% fabricated to keep certain people disenfranchised. I’m happy to be called out respectfully as I view it as an opportunity to discover more nuance. That’s what this presentation attempts; some of it can readily be understood, while other parts require more digging while yet others seem to be spurious. It’s still worth having the discussion, though.



“ This painting by Honoré Daumier of the French Revolution of 1848 includes a possible early example of a “political clenched fist,” according to curator Francesca Seravalle.[2]

What’s seventy years between friends?


This is part of what’s lacking when debating the question of whether yellow=white. It doesn’t really matter (although it clearly does mean white). It’s the exclusion of all other representation that’s really egregious.


To remedy the issue of negative connotations from putting the white fist first:


Don’t put it first, make a gradient scale with it in the middle.

But I digress, as the topic of this post IS NOT the solidarity fist icon and who “owns” it.


it find it wild that – with a whole subset of words – google keyboard on android prompts me with the “ok” hand emoji. definitely not something i even accidentally want to use since people are using the three finger version of it as a “w” white power symbol these days. :crying_cat_face:

( also, as far as i know, there’s a range of emoji’s that still are yellow only. like the cats. )


I did that, too!

One interesting consequence of the diverse emojis is that the :dancer:t4: emoji I use for my wife’s contact now says “Call from Mrs woman with medium skintone dancing Peas“ when she calls.