Apple has said it wants to add more ethnic diversity to the little cartoon characters, called emoji, available to iPhone and Mac computer users. The characters, which are like graphically-enhanced emoticons originated from Japan and, while the graphic icons often many things from Japanese culture, there are no emoji Latinos or Black people.

Though Apple is responding to popular pressure to make an aspect of technology more ethnically diverse, this is probably not what Jesse Jackson intended when he recently called out Silicon Valley for being "perhaps the worst industry when it comes to inclusion."

This diversity issue is symbolic -- literally.

Still, part of the call for diversity is more diversity in media representations, and despite this particular issue being mostly about cartoon characters on cell phones, enhanced text messaging is now an active, widespread medium for expression, and every little bit counts. And with Latinos being one of the most active demographics in social media and the use of mobile technology, including some representation of Latinos or Hispanic culture in emojis would be fitting.

Emoji Origins

The news about Apple's call for diversity in emoji comes from a response from Apple VP of worldwide corporate communications Katie Cotton to MTV, which reached out to CEO Tim Cook. Cotton told MTV:

"Tim forwarded your email to me. We agree with you. Our emoji characters are based on the Unicode standard, which is necessary for them to be displayed properly across many platforms. There needs to be more diversity in the emoji character set, and we have been working closely with the Unicode Consortium in an effort to update the standard."

The Unicode standard Cotton referred to is the reason why the emoji list of characters is limited and out of date. Emoji are based on the Unicode Standard, which was created by a group of computer programmers in the 1980s to standardize coding so that, no matter what language a programmer or user knew, computers could communicate with each other on the net without translation barriers.

The basic list of Japanese-based emoji was developed in 2010, by the non-profit organization the Unicode Consortium, to ensure that different devices could communicate, understand, and correctly display the graphical icons. And while there are non-standard emoji that users can download and text, they won't make any sense to recipients that haven't downloaded the same expansion pack.

The Diversity Petition

People began to notice that the default emoji options were particularly narrow in focus, with nearly all white faces, one darker, turbaned figure, two vaguely Asian faces, and no other faces resembling people of color -- even though there are more than 800 emojis in the standard set.

A petition on Do Something asking Apple to add more diversity to the standard set began to gain attention, and the diversity cause was amplified by -- of all people to support socially conscious causes -- Miley Cyrus.

Other campaigns, reported by the Wall Street Journal, asked for an update to include hotdogs, cupcakes, bacon and unicorns.

More diverse icons may likely come out of this petition, as this not the first time Apple has added diversity to its emoji set: when Apple released iOS 6, it included some emoji depicting same-sex couples.

Would you like emoji for Latinos and/or Hispanic culture added to the standard set? Which ones? Let us know in the comments section below.