...And Some, I Assume, Are Good People
25 x 20 x 2.75 in.
Acrylic, ink, watercolor paper, newspaper, glassine, acetate, resin, on deep-cradled wood panel
"When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. They're not sending you. They're not sending you. They're sending people that have lots of problems, and they're bringing those problems with us. They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.” Donald J. Trump, June 16, 2015
In a meandering speech announcing his intention to run for president, Donald Trump uttered these now infamous words, characterizing Mexican immigrants in these most unflattering, insulting terms, only carving out an exception for “some” as worthy of respect. This wasn’t simply an attack on people of Mexican descent; it was the opening salvo in a string of confrontational, demeaning references to Hispanics, which he repeated throughout his campaign—and well into his presidency—as offerings of red meat to his base.
The image of the copulating piñatas is meant to highlight the absurdity of painting so many with such a broad brush, by ostensibly confirming Trump’s fears concerning the coarseness and general moral turpitude of Mexicans--and by association, all Hispanics--in the U.S., whether undocumented or even American born. That the subjects aren’t even “good people" but papier-mâché facsimiles of fantastical or long-dead creatures furthers the ironic aims of the piece.
Piñatas are celebratory playthings, but they can also have meaning and power as effigies, allowing the blindfolded stick-wielder to punish the people or ideas they represent by raining blows down on them. By calling out Mexicans in this way, Trump is essentially making piñatas of them--colorful straw men to be knocked down and split open, spilling out their candies and providing a cheap political sugar high.