Just an Emoji

Nathaniel Winans
3 min readMay 21, 2021
Image credit: emojiterra

The little things through life can sometimes be the most awakening moments we have. It can be a smell that brings back a fond memory. Seeing an animal that was a loved one’s favorite. Or it could be an image that makes you realize you aren’t as “woke” as you thought you were.

A Text

As someone who uses emojis and GIFs somewhat regularly while texting, I’ve become somewhat accustomed to seeing the same images over and over. But the other day I was texting a friend and she sent the fingers crossed emoji but it was black.

I never think or stare at emojis longer than a second because they’re so recognizable, but for some reason, this fingers crossed emoji resonated with me. It seemed so foreign. Nearly everyone I text uses white or yellow emojis but I realized how infrequent I see black ones. I know she’s black, I can see it. It doesn’t change my perception of her or anyone else who’s black, but something about this emoji change me.

We’re Whitewashed

Much of what I do and who I associate with is white. I know that isn’t right, it just happened to be this way. It’s just an unconscious practice that I, along with many other people, have adopted. I just never realized I was this whitewashed.

I feel that nearly everything I do is “what white people do.” The history I’ve learned, the activities I do, the mannerisms I’ve adopted, the books I read, the shows I enjoy. I am “white culture.”

This led me to another realization, we need to stop saying black culture, white culture, Asian culture, etc. We need to say American culture. We’re a country contrived of different backgrounds which is what makes us strong. Every time we segregate culture, we’re proving how divided as a nation we truly are.

It’s almost like saying “yeah, we’ve had enough whiteness, let’s get some black culture to mix it up.” How can we be ONE country if we’re constantly treating people differently and like they’re beneficial to “white culture?”

Opening Up

When we go to the store or just get in our car for a drive, we try to avoid “those” neighborhoods because…they’re bad? Is it because they’re bad or because they’re black? As a country there are so many opportunities for us to assimilate and time and time again we show our true colors.

Watching people cross the street so they don’t have to walk past a person who’s a different color is truly insane. If a person’s skin color is so threatening, do we consider guns to be even more dangerous?

America was built by slaves and throughout its history has had negative connotations towards people, American citizens, who aren’t white. During World War II we put Asian-Americans in prison camps!

It is amazing how so many people can say America isn’t a racist country or how they’ve never seen racism so it doesn’t exist. There must not be any murders because you haven’t seen them either. The audacity of people in this country to say that racism doesn’t exist is concerning, and we need to wake up.

Just Be Nice

Is it that hard to just be nice to someone, regardless of their skin color? There will always be a situation where someone upsets us. Driving and being cut off is frustrating, but does that mean all drivers should be ostracized? If someone’s skin color is the most upsetting element of your life, you need to reevaluate yourself.

It’s so tiring to constantly hear people fight for equality, not special treatment, equality, and essentially be told that being equal is too much. Being nice isn’t hard. If kindergartners can, why can’t adults?



Nathaniel Winans

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