Artist Ron English's April Fool's sign at US-Mexico border


Artist Ron English went to the US-Mexico border for April Fool's day and pulled a few pranks. The above sign is one of them.

Unfortunately this piece of sociopolitical satire is going to backfire because the Tea Party will find out about it and demand that it be permanently installed at every border crossing.

Artist Ron English's April Fool's sign at US-Mexico border


  1. Let’s all conflate legal and illegal immigration. Right and Left.

    Better we maintain a disenfranchised underclass of non-citizens than address the issue. It’s such a useful political talking point for everybody.

  2. Nah, I can’t imagine the Tea Partiers would rely only on skin color for choosing suitable Americans. It’s a good first step, but light-skinned undesirables could still sneak in.

    1. My guess is that Tea Partiers would suddenly realise that the godless scientists actually work according to gods plan. Because even though they are clearly evil and immoral liars, they could provide decent upstanding christians with DNA-testing methods, which, used for every single person wanting to enter the country, could ensure that only the whitest of the white would pass.

      This heavenly tool coming from such a lowly source is just another sign of gods blessing upon those of “us” who are so deeply in need, you know, what with the attack on christiany and whatnot…

      *goes to have a liedown*

  3. The satire is not in the sign; it’s in the photograph. The Hispanic women casually crossing the border belying the stupidity of this anachronistic j’accuse of “American xenophobia.” You ought to get out more. Maybe go to a ball game. Look around. Everyone’s here. Have a beer, relax.

    1. Because she’s going to have a real easy time earning citizenship, right? What’s the waiting list now, like 15 years?

    1. Heh. Love to know the shooting ratio on that POS. You wanna believe the country is one big Klavern, that’s your business. But really, there’s a big grab-bag country out there beyond the art circles. Mix in a car show. Do you some good.

      1. Your “car show” argument turned me around. There are no racists in the United States.

  4. I’m no Tea Party fan, but I don’t believe it’s substantially driven by overt racism. Attempting to directly tie the photo to the Tea Party is divisive and will just make people defensively disengage their critical thinking rather than consider the photo’s very real point.

      1. Parker’s a biased witness – he has a dog in the hunt. Specifically, he’s flogging a book with the exact same conclusion.

        Study Director Has Financial Interest in Study Results!

        1. The part of your comment that tears apart the research methodology must’ve gotten lost in the tubes, because all that’s left is something about a researcher writing a book based on his findings means the research is faulty, and that can’t be your whole argument. It’d be stupid if it was.

          1. Google is your friend! I’m happy to do your work for you though. You can start here:


            Short summary: The best stats suggesting that Tea Partiers are racist were the ones suggesting that they don’t view minorities as hardworking… however the study participants had the same opinion about white people, in the same percentages.

            The study was flawed, and conclusions drawn from it are inflammatory, not to mention poorly (or un-) supported by the data.

          2. Defending your statement is your job, not mine, so thanks for nothing.

            however the study participants had the same opinion about white people, in the same percentages.

            35% != 49% (“hardworking”) and 45% != 59% (“intelligent”).

          3. “Eugene Volokh….”

            Yeah, how about a source that’s not a ridiculous right wing/libertarian one? One that’s not dedicated to trying to downplay (discredit) any obvious accounts of racism in American society? The Tea Party and the Republican party’s overt racism is obvious to anybody with two eyes. Look into all this “states rights” and “Federalist” fetishism. Please don’t insult our intelligence.

        2. Good legal argument, but an ad hominem logical fallacy. His claim may still be valid, regardless of any of his behaviour.
          On the flip side, the saying ‘whatever the Thinker Thinks, the Prover Proves’ seems to be a pretty good guide when assessing any claims.
          Two points, both of them useful!

          1. “Whatever the thinker thinks, the prover proves”? That saying is pretty anti-science, honestly. I can’t think of many scientists who would describe themselves as “provers” or describe their work as being out to prove something. The very idea implies a biased observer – someone with the goal of “proving” a thing.

            Anyway, it’s perfectly legitimate in the course of evaluating a study to look at whether the study director has a direct financial interest in the outcome. At the very least, the study should be held to a higher standard of scrutiny. Confirmation bias being what it is, that’s unlikely to happen around here but it’s worth pointing out once in a while, just to dampen the echo chamber.

            Also, financial interest seems to be perfectly valid criticism around here whenever, say, BP claims their studies show the Deepwater Horizon disaster wasn’t all that big a deal. Or is it that only those with whom you disagree taint their work with personal bias?

          2. As I said — a good legal argument… and people tend not to admit to others that they are attempting to ‘prove’ something. Hey, they already think it!

      2. There’s a higher prevalence of racism in the Tea Party, sure. That’s true of Republicans too. But neither party endorses it, and both have way more members who aren’t particularly racist than who are. We should call out racism where it exists, but there’s no point in alienating people who aren’t racist and making them feel an association between anti-racism and people who are hostile toward them.

        1. Sidb: I read your statement “There’s a higher prevalence of racism in the Tea Party, sure. That’s true of Republicans too”. I’m curious, what’s your source for that statement?

  5. What is up with Uncle Sam’s eyes? They are freaking me out. Looks like someone partially melted his face.

  6. It’s be easier and more efficient to title this post: “Two-Minutes Hate”.

    Everybody groupthink – Tea Party bad! Progressives good! Two, four, six, eight, we know who we’re meant to hate!

  7. haha, what a lark. Way to offend people crossing the border. Are you sure they get the joke?

    1. Are you sure they get the joke?

      I’m pretty sure that they understand the situation quite well.

  8. Some progressives are for stealing oil, I mean, liberating Libya. All progressives believe the exact same things, therefore all progressives are for mass murder in Libya.

    See? I can be logical too…

  9. According to the color chart, Uncle Sam himself isn’t the right shade of peach to be allowed in the US.

    Adios, Tio Sam.

  10. Pretty much any popular movement is going to attract some people with undesirable views. Racists, communists (real ones), anti-semites, anti-vaxxers, etc..

    This is great because it makes arguing on the internet much easier. Everybody’s discredited by association.

    1. As a commie myself, the son of a commie and also grand and greatgrandson of a commie… I kinda want to know: This mythical “real communist” what is that?
      I mean, I guess that the modern 21st century parts of ultra-guache isn’t what your thinking about, no Zizek, no Dauve, nothing like that? More Stalin, the big state run capital-venture plans, perhaps a dash of Mao or Chairman Gonzales is what you call “real commies”…?

      Its strange being told that the large part of an ideology existing doesn’t have the right to name itself but is, instead, “fake”. Like saying anyone who doesn’t approve of whole sale slavery or Somalian non-gov isn’t really a capitalist? I never say things like that, can I get away with it?

      1. You can! I’ve heard many times that true capitalism is the same thing as free market capitalism, in which case the regulated capitalism used all over the world is fake.

      2. By “real ones”, I was disclaiming against how some people throw around “communist” to anyone even slightly left of center.

        As for Communism itself, I think Stalin, Mao, et al. have effectively claimed that word in the public’s consciousness. So I’d advise you to adopt a new moniker.

        Yes yes, I’m sure your views are very nuanced and that those other guys gave communism a bad name, but… well that’s the point. You don’t see many people trying to reclaim “fascism”, do you?

          1. Oh, I think Mao gets a hearty and heartfelt ‘Boo!’

            The Great Leap was a Great Steaming Pile of Famine and Misery… and the Cultural Revolution?

            WTF was that all about? ‘I denounce you, Pikachu!’ ‘and I denounce you, and you and you!!!’

            Now wear this pointy hat while we all yell at you, burn your books, send your kids to toil on farms and smash up all the ‘olds’.

            Communism might work in your house or your farming community. . .but the egalitarian ideal of universal human equality does. not. work. in big groups and nation states.

            Human nature (I got mine, me first, more for me, its mine mine MINE!) gets in the way.

            Of course. . .now we begin to see the cracks and flaws of democratic capitalism. . .

            My feeling is any human social construct has a limit to its efficacy. Communism didn’t even make it 100 years. (yes, China. . .a workers paradise to be sure, but isn’t it really more of a comm-capita-oligarchical form of governance?)

            Luckily America will never weaken or fail because we have Freedom.

            (no sarcasm tag needed)

  11. If the racist faction of the tea party decide to use that sign, I’m sure they will write it in Mexican. Mexicans don’t speak American.

    1. agreed, but very few people speak “Mexican” (also known as Nahuatl) in México, maybe you ment SPANISH?

  12. Everyone should think alike, then we can get rid of this stupid “diversity is important” thing.

  13. Isn’t that the color of Boehner’s skin? Does that mean he’s the only one allowed in? Cos I don’t think anyone else has that same shade of orange.

  14. This would be a lot funnier if Mexico’s immigration policy weren’t far stricter than ours. – aj

    1. Speaking as a wingnut, my least-favorite leftist argument is the claim that “we must do this because other countries are doing this.” I dislike it so much, that I even dislike it when our side uses the same argument.

      1. Right on. I’d much rather stay mired in mediocrity and the social dark ages than take the lead of other countries to actually better our standard of living. I mean, who would want that?

        1. What “other countries” are so far advanced that by comparison this country is mired in “mediocrity and social dark ages”? Just making vacation plans and would like to know.

          1. Teller, is your vacation plan one of those medical vacations? Or are you one of the people moving to have kids elsewhere, where they can afford childcare and education and health care?

            you could go to the 30+ countries ahead of the US in relation to infant mortality..
            Or the 30+ ahead of us in life expectancy..
            Or the countries who spend less than the US on health care as a % of GDP (and have better stats than the US on the above and other measures)..

            The countries that invest in their bridges and roads..

            What about the countries that don’t allow their cities to have no rescue plans for the poor at all in case of predictable flooding..

            not unrelatedly, what about the countries who have less income inequality than the US, which ranks down between Cote d’Ivoire and Uruguay..

            few places are paradise, but the US doesn’t hold up well in comparison to many places if you are part of the less-wealthy majority. I don’t know about vacations, but if you’re looking for family-friendly national policies…

          2. A medical vacation? Well that addresses the August issue for Conde Nast Traveler, but not my request: what countries make this country appear mired in “mediocrity and social dark ages”? Don’t think Lichtenstein was meant seriously. Apologies if it was.

      2. “…my least-favorite leftist argument is the claim that ‘we must do this because other countries are doing this.'”

        I understand why you think that, given that the wingnuts’ most-favorite argument is “other countries must do this or else.”

  15. Huh, orange is out. Looks like John Boehner better not visit Mexico, because he won’t be getting back in.

  16. Between this and that awful Warhol skull, I’m starting to think English is a bit of a hack.

  17. Hey everyone, I have a great idea!

    Let’s lump a whole bunch of people together and blame society’s ills on them. It’ll give us all a rallying point, and it will be good to have someone to blame.

    Sounds great, eh?

    Now, I just need to decide what to call this group — I can’t decide between “illegal aliens” or “Tea Partiers.”

    1. It must take you a while to to come to any political conclusions in your life.

      You know, having to interview 300 million people to see which ones you agree with.

      1. It must take you a while to to come to any political conclusions in your life.

        You know, having to interview 300 million people to see which ones you agree with.

        It does — in fact, I rarely reach conclusions.

        Then again, in the sphere of public engagement, I think we’re better suited engaging in reasonable processes than looking for some answer to commit to.

        Let’s face it: many of the charged and divisive issues of the day are that way for a reason; there are no simple answers, if there are any answers at all. If there were simple answers we’d have them already.

        That’s why I think it’s best to participate in a good process — rational and reasonable discussion and debate in the public realm, consensus building insofar as it is possible, etc. — than expecting some particular ideology to be “right” and “win.”

        I think most of the political positions that are associated with the so-called Tea Party are hate-filled and abysmal, but I’d prefer to engage discussion on the level of the issues than that of group membership. You may assert that that it’s impossible to get anything done in that way — and you could be right, who knows? — but I feel it is important to live one’s principles in these things, and I am committed to concept of democracy that employs reasoned debate and our best efforts to reach ethical action. Call me an idealist if you want, but I’m comfortable with walking my talk.

        It’s the same reason I don’t feel bad “throwing votes away,” as opposed to voting for the lessor of a two-party evil.

        On the other hand, I don’t really need to interview anyone to see who I agree with. I’ll argue for what I consider just and humane immigration policies regardless of who agrees with me.

        1. That’s about the most reasonable thing I’ve ever read online. Thanks for applying critical thinking to politics, that’s what we really need more than anything.

          As for me, I hate that I’m logical and reasonable about politics. It sucks. It makes discussions take too long. I want issues to make me immediately agitated in favor of one clearly definable side of the political spectrum so I know who my friends are and I can make my mind up quickly. I’d much rather live in the matrix than face reality.

  18. Defending the Tea Party, pretending to be impartial and disinterested parties in the process?

    Did I fall asleep and wake up in 2009?

  19. “we must do this because other countries are doing this.”

    Could be you’re slightly misunderstanding the argument. It’s usually more along the lines of “we should do this because other countries have found that it works.” Nobody argues that we should have nationalized health care, for example, simply because All The Fashionable Nations Are Doing It. The results are what counts, not the national flavor.

  20. Lichtenstein put on a good face, for a fee.
    And they’ve been letting women vote for over two decades now!

  21. This seems more likely to offend the people crossing the border who won’t necessarily “get” the joke than to actually make any critical commentary on American immigration policy.

  22. Defending the study, however, IS your job, since you think it’s correct. I’ll be nice though, and give you a little more detail:

    The difference between 35% and 49% sounds like a lot, but examining the study that turns out to be a total of only 17 respondents out of the 117 “true believers”, who were only about 10% of the total respondents of the study. In this case, the difference between “hardworking” attitudes toward whites and toward blacks was found in only 1.5% of the total respondents. In other words, it’s insignificant. Even more insignificant when you consider that the poll itself was conducted not nationwide but in six “battleground” states chosen by the study author because he thought they’d be fun to look at. This breaks down to an average of only 180ish people per state, half of whom didn’t even respond.

    Anyhow, it’s clear you’re seeing what you believe should be there to see, and are unwilling to do even a cursory reading of the link I provided and the further ones found there. Confirmation bias! So, I guess there’s little point continuing. Thoughtful readers can see the source material for themselves, and make their own judgments.

    1. In your opinion, would you say grimc is an illustration of ‘whatever the Thinker Thinks, the Prover Proves’, then?

    2. When you make an argument that actually requires me to Google instead of just pointing out how either stupid (‘He’s writing a book!’) or obviously incorrect (‘The percentages are the same!’) your argument is, I’ll have no problem doing it.

      So now you’ve jumped from ‘the percentages are the same’ to ‘the percentages don’t really matter because there weren’t enough participants’. By your own calculation, there were about 1000 participants.

      You know about how many participants the usual Gallup poll has? Around a thousand. Seems pretty standard. But let’s see if a real, live statistician thinks this is too few, or there’s a problem with the methodology: Nope. Doesn’t even mention it. (I know, Silver’s a liberal! Wrote a book! BIASED!)

      That last link is from your Volokh post, BTW. If I didn’t read it, how would I know your claim about ‘same percentages’ was a fabrication? Not to mention knowing that Somin doesn’t say jack about the methodolgy, so this too-few-respondents shtick is something of your own invention?

      Study still indicates racist Tea Party is racist. Sucks for all the non-racist, Birther/Soshulizm! nutbags that dress in tricorns, wave Gadsden flags, and rail against gubmint healthcare from the comfort of their gubmint-funded scooters, but that’s life.

  23. Call me crazy, but if someone wants to live in this country they should be allowed to if they follow the laws. This includes going through immigration to obtain a visa, a green card, citizenship or whatever. It also includes paying taxes to pay for the things we are provided (roads, schools, fire dept, etc). And if you try to enter this country legally, then I don’t care if you are black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Arab or even an ET alien, you are welcome.
    If you sneak into this country, even if’s some Canadian doing so, you should be deported. If either Harry Reid or John Boehner were ever found out to be illegal immigrants, I would fully abdicate sending either one back to their home country.

  24. The sign would be seen only as another insult and not as satire. Why? .. becauce Mexico’s (and Spain’s) counterpart to April Fool’s Day is actually observed on December 28, the Día de los Santos Inocentes.

    As far as the tea party is concerned, there is no mention of that issue on the sign, and so that is just another opinion that adds nothing to the value (or lack of in this case) to the image. I advise the artist to rethink his concept.

  25. Evan Sayet explained the kind of thinking that gave birth to this sign in his speech at the Heritage Foundation called “How Modern Liberals Think”. It is available on Youtube.

  26. Mark,

    100 times of saying who you are doesn’t equal 1 time of showing what you are.

    I must be in the small minority that doesn’t believe one side is completely evil and the other side completely good no matter what the actions are. You draw attention to a racist sign (not created by a Tea-Party member), then use it as a reason to condemn every Tea-Party member for the very same action. And yes, I know it was created as a jab.

    But that’s like me proclaiming to be a pacifist then punching someone in the face and saying, “See, that’s what those darn people over at Boing-Boing would like to do!”

    Utterly ridiculous. So it’s OK to offend, belittle and harass minorities at the border as long as it’s a stab at the people you hate???

    Come on people, this ignorant hypocrisy stinks no matter what side it comes from.

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