They Going to Send Us Home

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    Photo: Stephen Pitkin/Pitkin Studio
  • Click on image to enlarge

    Photo: Stephen Pitkin/Pitkin Studio
late 1970s
Paint on cardboard
24 x 48 inches

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They going to Send Us Home was inspired by the plight of “boat people”—emigrants from Cuba and Haiti who risked their lives by sailing across the Caribbean to Florida.

They going to Send Us Home was inspired by the plight of “boat people”—emigrants from Cuba and Haiti who risked their lives by sailing across the Caribbean to Florida. Typically, the United States government, symbolized here by an all-seeing eye in the sky, granted asylum to Cubans escaping their Community dictatorship, while Haitians fleeing poverty were returned to their country.

Young’s image of a perilous ocean voyage inevitably recalls the Middle Passage of slave ships from Africa to the United States, and he perceived a racial component in their modern-day counterparts: “I mostly see the boat people struggling. I see them on the news, where the boats turn over, or they get turned around, sent back. . . . The white man don’t want the black folks to come. So I always wonder: Would the white man get concerned about white folks coming to America?” —Timothy Anglin Burgard