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It’s barely halfway through the second month of the year and already the National Public Radio (NPR) published what could be the most ridiculous article of the year: “Which skin color emoji should you use? The answer can be more complex than you think.”
Three NPR journalists — yes, three — wrote an article where they explain that white people who use yellow emojis — considered “neutral” — would be exposing their white privilege by not using emojis that correspond to their true skin color.
“Alexander Robertson, an emoji researcher at Google (…) said the emoji modifiers were used widely but it was people with darker skin who used them in higher proportions, and more often,” the NPR article reads. “Some white people may stick with the yellow emoji because they don’t want to assert their privilege by adding a light-skinned emoji to a text, or to take advantage of something that was created to represent diversity.”
Later in the article, journalists Alejandra Gomez Janse, Patrick Jarenwattananon and Asma Khalid — the authors of the article in question — talk to other “experts” who explain the relationship of white privilege and color-neutral emojis used by white people.
In a controversial tweet, NPR claimed that “some white people may choose [yellow-colored emoji] because it feels neutral — but some academics argue opting out of [soft-colored emoji] signals a lack of awareness about white privilege, akin to society associating whiteness with being raceless.”
After that tweet, criticism came like a tsunami.
Thousands of users seized on NPR’s post to call for its defunding and criticize the taxpayer-funded outlet’s progressive approach. The NPR tweet, so far, has 11,000 tweets cited and more than 23,000 replies, almost all of them harsh criticisms.
“Incredible that it took *three* NPR employees to write something this stupid,” tweeted writer and activist Christopher F. Rufo.
Brad Polumbo, political correspondent for FEE, said that “Only woke white people care about this kinda shit. Everyone else has a life and real problems to worry about.”
“I’m an Iranian-born refugee and naturalized American. This is childishly woke, and doesn’t help people of color. The yellow emoji is the default option. Please focus on real issues that affect Americans,” responded one user, whose tweet reached 10,000 likes.
J.D. Vance, a candidate for senator in Ohio, asked to remind Americans that when they pay their taxes “some fraction of every dollar goes to produce content like this.”
“When I’m a senator that will stop,” Vance stated.
“What color emoji should Trudeau use?” asked Christina Pushaw, Gov. Ron DeSantis’ press secretary turned Twitter activist, sarcastically.
In the responses and tweets cited, one can see the general consensus that the article is pretty “stupid” and that NPR should not be funded by Americans’ tax dollars because of its ideological bias.
Likewise, the tweet went so viral that it transcended borders, reaching Hispanics users in other countries who were surprised by the content that National Public Radio broadcasts. Some comments in Spanish pointed out that it is “sick” how Americans are “obsessed with race” and asked NPR journalists to get “a serious job.”
Emmanuel Alejandro Rondón is a journalist at El American specializing in the areas of American politics and media analysis // Emmanuel Alejandro Rondón es periodista de El American especializado en las áreas de política americana y análisis de medios de comunicación.
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