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The Hidden World of Texans Who Constantly Use the Wrong Emoji Flag

One lawmaker is so upset about it, he’s drafted a resolution.

The Texas flag.
The Texas flag. Kimberly Vardeman/CC BY 2.0

Emoji, like the one you just used to send a dumb text message to your friend, are, on their face, pretty simple: a small graphical icon representing happiness or rage or befuddlement or booze or an airplane or a slice of pizza or, maybe, after a job is well done, a simple thumbs-up. 

And while their popularity probably has to do with efficiency and simplicity—a picture, after all, really can be worth a thousand words—the range of emoji in circulation we use to explain ourselves is still fairly limited. 

That’s because every emoji originates from a standardized set of characters decided upon by the nonprofit Unicode Consortium, which acts as the technological gatekeeper for not just emoji but also any new kind of digital character or symbol in the world. 

The current emoji set includes every national flag in the world, but not regional flags, nor any of the flags for U.S. states. 

All of which hasn’t stopped a lot of Texans from, wittingly or not, sharing a flag emoji that looks very similar to theirs—that belonging to Chile.

The Chilean flag.
The Chilean flag. Benjamín Mejías/CC BY 2.0

Normally, this sort of error would just be chalked up to standard online incompetency—take a minute to remember, just for example, the staggering amount of idiocy that’s occurred on Twitter over the past month alone. But these aren’t normal times, and a Texas state lawmaker is upset enough about the matter to spend some of his time drafting a resolution urging everyone to stop. 

State Representative Tom Oliverson says in the resolution submitted last week that although the Chilean flag is a “nice flag” it cannot “in any way compare to or be substituted for the official state flag of Texas,” according to Reuters.

The resolution is meant to be “educational,” Oliverson told Reuters, not a new law. Regardless of whether the resolution passes, Oliverson said he was pleased with the publicity it received, saying that he’s already achieved his objective. 

The resolution itself might be moot soon anyway: the Unicode Consortium said in December that it was considering adding regional flags such as Texas’s.

At which point all you proud Texans will have even less of an excuse.