Why does the handshake emoji only have 1 skin color


Until 2015, emojis had only one skin tone. But in a more and more inclusive world, this had to be corrected. For this reason, the Unicode Consortium, a non-profit organization responsible for standardizing letters and characters on computers following the Unicode system, decided to introduce the skin tone modifier to a handful of emoji in 2015. Since then, the power to choose Skin tone is something that has beEen trickling down to many other emojis, including at least a dozen hand gestures.

A handshake of the same color

But, if there is the option of being able to choose a different skin tone, why can’t alternative tones be chosen within the same emoji? Why should the handshake icon always be with 2 hands of the same skin tone, why not one white and the other black for example?

The website TheNextWeb has wondered this, having already gone to speak with the historian of emoji and founder of Emojipedia, Jeremy Burger, who has pointed out that “The handshake requires new code points for each hand to support mixed skin tones , and this has been in planning since 2019 ”.

“Last year, Emoji 12.0 added support for the emoji of people holding hands with different skin tones,” said the historian. The Emoji 13.1 Unicode draft candidates also shortlisted more two-person emojis, including support for mixed skin tones for all Couple Kiss and Couple Heart variations.

It’s up to the code and will be included soon

The same goes for the emoji handshake. “At this stage the skin tone support for the handshake emoji is written for Emoji 14.0, which means it could be on phones in 2021-2022.” The funny thing is that the variations of the mixed tone of the handshake emoji hands are ready, but only in a limited capacity:

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“Some platforms already support the shared skin tone for the handshake, but others seem to be withholding any skin tone support until each hand can support a different skin tone,” noted the founder of Emojipedia.


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