(The Root) -- Emojis, the tiny smiley faces and pictograms that people use in text messaging, are gaining popularity on social media sites like Twitter and Instagram, making some messages look more like hieroglyphics than anything else.

As their popularity increases, more and more people are noticing the stunning lack of emojis that look like black people.

— Big Mike (@mikebrad25) August 22, 2013
— ♡˚Relatable˚♡ (@lnYourThoughts) August 17, 2013
— Cause We're Funny (@CauseWereHumor) August 12, 2013
— Robinson Meyer (@yayitsrob) August 7, 2013

A petition was launched on Thursday campaigning for Apple to include at least four faces of color -- one man, one woman, one boy and one girl -- in its new iOS 7 mobile operating system this fall. The petition targets the company because it has been one of the most instrumental in introducing emojis to the American market (they originated in Japan).

The petition points out that of more than 800 emojis, "the only two resembling people of color are a guy who looks vaguely Asian and another in a turban." Some on Twitter who have searched for emojis that look like themselves lament that the only ones that come close are a monkey and a smiling pile of poo.

— Paul Bolusire (@PaulBolusire) August 22, 2013

Given the hurtful history of the misrepresentation of people of color in the media, that does kind of sting when you think about it.

Some may find it trivial, but some see it as reflective of a larger problem. Maybe someone will bring it up during the March on Washington festivities this weekend?


Tracy Clayton is a writer, humorist and blogger from Louisville, Ky.