As the OP is not a member of SO but participates in several sites unrelated to computer programming, they felt somewhat alienated “…was immediately put off by a giant picture of the SO logo…”
Rand al'Thor: Please can this be changed so it feels more inclusive of the rest of the network? Of course you don't want to design a special image for every single site, but how about no image at all?
I posted an answer, but it soon dawned on me that if anyone might be alienated by the cartoon, which is representing equality and inclusiveness, it would be someone whose skin color was not white.
Me: I can tell you what is missing from the image. A couple of black/brown faces, or at the very least some dark-haired people
The observation attracted a number of detractors, so the OP asked that I open a new meta question about this issue, which was fine by me. The last line in my answer has since been deleted, but I have reposted it above.
At first glance, the figures appear to have the same skin and hair color. Looking more closely, you'll notice that the thin outlines are in different shades of brown and yellow, however, the area inside those lines are left blank. Basically, the figures appear to be Caucasian and either blond or white-haired (but not everyone agrees).
So here is the new meta post. I think it's worthy of attention and some serious discussion.
To save time, here's a short list of the most significant comments:
To be honest adding black faces/hair into the mix wouldn't mix well with the design. It's meant to be simplistic with a lack of block colour. The approach they've used (different coloured outlines) seems to be a good way to go […] if they made all the skin dark they'd probably have to block colour the clothes, hair and objects to stay with the theme
How do you infer that from the image? As far as I can see the outlines all have different (nonsensical) colors and the inside of the humans is empty? Is there something in there that indicates caucasian? Because I can't see it. Looks like some cartoon freeform human drawing akin to the nonspecificity used by cartoons like The Simpsons to me. I'm honestly having trouble reading any form of representation (caucasian or otherwise) into the varied colors of a wireframe cartoon that doesn't detail enough to even be able to ascribe ethnicity of any of the figures.[…]
though looking at the hairstyles in the image above, it does seem to indicate everyone there is Caucasian
- Is the image above inclusive of ethnicities?
- Does it matter? It's just a drawing, will anyone notice or even care?
- The majority of the world population, and computer engineers, developers, etc. are not Caucasian (the US is currently fourth), are they represented in the image?
UPDATE (9 June, 2020)
Does the company, or anyone else, retain that black and brown people are clearly represented in the illustration? Despite the large number of users who evidently disagreed, I still see a group of people, young and old, whose bodies and faces share the same white color.