A House committee addressed one legislator’s attempt to stop Texans from misrepresenting the state through incorrect emoji usage on social media during a hearing Tuesday.
House Concurrent Resolution 75, authored by Rep. Tom Oliverson, R-Cypress, “reject(s) the notion that the Chilean flag … can in any way compare” to the Texas flag and urges all Texans to not use the Chilean flag emoji in digital forums when referring to the “Lone Star Flag of the great State of Texas.”
Oliverson said he filed the resolution to increase awareness of the differences between the two flags. While they share physical characteristics such as colors and the appearance of a star, Oliverson said the meanings behind the outward similarities mark symbolic differences between the flags.
“(The Chilean flag) does not represent the same values or the same history held by the state of Texas,” Oliverson said.
The colors on Texas’ flag signify values of loyalty, purity and bravery while similar colors on the Chilean flag represent sky, snow and blood, according to the resolution. Additionally, the star on Texas’ flag represents unity within the state while the star on the Chilean flag can be interpreted to symbolize progress and honor or the power of the country’s government.
Many countries have an emoji representing their flag, but no state flag has its own emoji. Oliverson said a search for the word “Chile” on a smartphone’s texting application would result in an emoji of the Republic of Chile’s flag. However, a search with the word “Texas” would not produce any results. Oliverson said this resolution seeks to further clarify this concept and has received support from people even in Chile.
Eiman Siddiqui, Oliverson’s chief of staff, said misuse of the Chilean flag emoji on social media, specifically among Texas politicians, inspired the resolution. He said several instances of political office holders ending tweets or Facebook posts about Texas with emojis of Chilean flags prompted the resolution to address the mistake.
“(The resolution) has just put out the word via a lot of social media and a lot of the media’s picked it up and just let people know that this is not the Texas flag,” Siddiqui said.
The committee left the resolution pending and did not say when they plan to vote on it. If approved by the Legislature, the resolution is intended to spread awareness of the issue but would not enforce legal penalties for utilizing the Chilean flag emoji to represent Texas.