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The Whitewashing of the American Farmer *superbowl commercial*

Posted by on Feb. 5, 2013 at 4:09 PM
  • 147 Replies

This should be a good one ;)


The Whitewashing of the American Farmer: Dodge Ram Super Bowl Ad Edition



Maybe God did make farmers, but why'd Dodge only show us the white ones?


Dodge Ram turned heads with its high-production value remake of a Farms.com YouTube video, featuring conservative radio broadcaster Paul Harvey's voice laid over beautiful photographs of Americans farmers. 

The arresting images combined with the crackle of what everyone immediately recognizes as old audio made everyone at our Super Bowl party stop and watch. Dodge, I'm sure, had good demographic analysis of their audience, so they knew they could go godly with the message and encounter little backlash. So God made a farmer, and also the advertising agencies who will use him to sell trucks. Quibbles aside, I'd rather have this kind of Americana than GoDaddy's bizarre antics. 

But there's a problem. The ad paints a portrait of the American agricultural workforce that is horribly skewed. In Dodge's world, almost every farmer is a white Caucasian. And that's about as realistic as a Thomas Kincade painting. 

Stipulating that visual inspection is a rough measure for the complex genealogical histories of people, I decided to count the race and ethnicity of the people in Dodge's ad. Here's what I found: 15 white people, one black man, and two (maybe three?) Latinos.

I couldn't help but wonder: Where are all the campesinos? The ethnic mix Dodge chose to represent American farming is flat-out wrong.

It's true that whites are the managers of 96 percent of the nation's farms, according to the USDA's 2007 Census of Agriculture. But the agricultural workforce is overwhelmingly Mexican with some workers from Central America thrown in. The Department of Labor's National Agriculture Worker Survey has found that over the last decade, around 70 percent of farmworkers in America were born in Mexico, most in a few states along the Pacific coast. This should not be news. Everyone knows this is how farms are run. 

And yet when a company decided to pay homage to the people who grow our food, they left out the people who do much of the labor, particularly on the big farms that continue to power the food system. You want to tell a grand story about the glories of working the land? You want to celebrate the people who grow food? You want to expound on the positive 'merican qualities that agricultural work develops in people? Great! What a nice, nostalgic idea!

Now, did God make Mexican farmworkers or only white farmers? Is the strength and toughness that comes from hard work God's gift to white people only? 

To borrow Ta-Nehisi Coates' phrase, the way this ad whitewashed American farming leaves Mexican farmworkers and their children "excluded from the process of patriotism," even though many identify as American. Almost 75 percent of foreign-born cropworkers have been in the states for more than five years. Hell, more than half of the farmworkers surveyed by the Department of Labor have been in the U.S. for more than ten years. These are members of American communities and prospective citizens. 

Contrast the advertisement with what you get from Lisa Hamilton's Real Rural project, which documented the lives of people living on California's farms and in its small towns. It's a better portrait of reality, though no less stirring, as you can see in the portrait below.

Obviously, a Dodge ad isn't on the level of the government's deportation programs or the long-time cognitive dissonance of American immigration policies. But it's the kind of cultural substrate in which our laws and prejudices grow. 
bart-slide-01.jpg
by on Feb. 5, 2013 at 4:09 PM
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Replies (1-10):
krysstizzle
by DeepThought on Feb. 5, 2013 at 4:09 PM

Here's the video, for those who missed it:

stormcris
by Christy on Feb. 5, 2013 at 4:12 PM

I think they did not want to become a part of the immigration debate but yet it seems that there is no way to avoid it.

Mommy_of_Riley
by Jes on Feb. 5, 2013 at 4:13 PM
15 moms liked this
I think the ad was more about family run farms where they work the land themselves.

It wasn't about corporate run slave lands with immigrant workers...
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ethans_momma06
by Bronze Member on Feb. 5, 2013 at 4:15 PM
2 moms liked this

Soooooo

In an ad that shows a job (farmer) that has a 96% "white" demographic (article stats) they used a majority of white people - and that's a problem?

It's not for a second like everyone in the commerical was white.

krysstizzle
by DeepThought on Feb. 5, 2013 at 4:17 PM
1 mom liked this

Even small farmers typically employ immigrant workers. 

Quoting Mommy_of_Riley:

I think the ad was more about family run farms where they work the land themselves.

It wasn't about corporate run slave lands with immigrant workers...


krysstizzle
by DeepThought on Feb. 5, 2013 at 4:18 PM
2 moms liked this

96% is the number that are owners. The majority of workers are not white. 

And yeah, everyone except for like 3 people were white. 

Quoting ethans_momma06:

Soooooo

In an ad that shows a job (farmer) that has a 96% "white" demographic (article stats) they used a majority of white people - and that's a problem?

It's not for a second like everyone in the commerical was white.


ethans_momma06
by Bronze Member on Feb. 5, 2013 at 4:18 PM
3 moms liked this

And, they would be called 'farm hands' or such, not 'farmer'.


Quoting krysstizzle:

Even small farmers typically employ immigrant workers. 

Quoting Mommy_of_Riley:

I think the ad was more about family run farms where they work the land themselves.

It wasn't about corporate run slave lands with immigrant workers...




krysstizzle
by DeepThought on Feb. 5, 2013 at 4:18 PM

lol

Quoting ethans_momma06:

And, they would be called 'farm hands' or such, not 'farmer'.


Quoting krysstizzle:

Even small farmers typically employ immigrant workers. 

Quoting Mommy_of_Riley:

I think the ad was more about family run farms where they work the land themselves.

It wasn't about corporate run slave lands with immigrant workers...





talia-mom
by Gold Member on Feb. 5, 2013 at 4:19 PM
2 moms liked this

Bingo.

It is now looking for more baiting when it isn't there.


Quoting Mommy_of_Riley:

I think the ad was more about family run farms where they work the land themselves.

It wasn't about corporate run slave lands with immigrant workers...



sherry132
by Silver Member on Feb. 5, 2013 at 4:20 PM
4 moms liked this

Because my life is too short to care. I didn't even notice the people or the trucks in the add, I was listening to Paul Harvey. 

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