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The Whitewashing of the American Farmer *superbowl commercial*

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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
Replies (21-30):
krysstizzle
by on Feb. 5, 2013 at 4:40 PM

Yeah, my previous reply addressed that. That (mechanization of huge industrial monocrops) is a whole other can of worms. I think small farm owner/workers and demographic is definitely regional.

Quoting smalltowngal:

I live in a small farming town. It's 92.5% white only. Some of the larger, family farms might bring in migrant workers for 3 months of the year but the majority don't. My next door neighbor doesn't. Actually, there are a lot of hs kids that work on farms around here. The majority of that commercial looked like it showed northern crops like corn and wheat. You don't usually hire migrant workers for those crops. Everything is done by machine. The only people that really bring in migrants workers are those that grow things like tomatoes, cucumbers or cabbage.  

Quoting krysstizzle:

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.





krysstizzle
by on Feb. 5, 2013 at 4:44 PM

The issue is that over 70% of people who work on farms are brown. 

I prefer to think of this article and its criticisms of the ad (which are certainly stretching, imo, to say the least) can act as a jumping board for the discussion around farm workers. The ad presents a romanticized vision of a vanishing livlihood.

One of the things that caught my eye (after I thought, where are all the hispanics picking the tomatoes?) is that it was overly romanticizing large scale monocultures. That certainly has its own issues. 

Quoting BoysManDog:


Really?  THIS is what we have become?  Hey, I didn't see a single white person in the half-time show.  Should I complain about that?  I don't see any white people in the BET awards.  What the hell is that about?  I don't see a lot of white guys on basketball teams.  Racism, for sure.  I see commercials on tv that have only, yes ONLY hispanic people in them.  This should not be allowed.  White people, after all, use soap, too.  Racists.

Can ANYONE on the left watch, see, experience ANYTHING without injecting race into it and, therefore, separating Americans in the process?  This thinking is noxious and destructive.  We can see this now with the "immigration debate."  If a person is against ILLEGAL immigration, he is automatically a "racist," and we cannot even have a sane conversation about this anymore.  What other country in the world has open borders where folks can just walk in and become citizens?  Where the LAW ABIDING people who live in that country are treated like the criminals for suggesting that laws be enforced?  Yeah, keep counting the colors in commercials, leftists. 

Anyway, to borrow a new favorite phrase, "what difference does it make?"  When the left has its way, the death tax will also put the nail in the coffin for many family farms, and those nasty white guys won't have their farms or need anymore government-motors trucks.  Mission accomplished, libs.


Radarma
by "OneDar" on Feb. 5, 2013 at 4:45 PM
2 moms liked this

 Targeting people who "think they are farmers"?

Jeez, op, you go right on with that rope.

krysstizzle
by on Feb. 5, 2013 at 4:47 PM
1 mom liked this

I think the shift happening in food systems (escruciatingly slowly, to be sure) will shift the demographics quite a bit. The US census of Ag numbers above are from 2007. I wonder what kind of role urban ag will end up playing, even on a small scale. 

Quoting stormcris:

Had to come back and add something that occurred to me...

The idea that 96% are white is interesting considering that now all urban homesteads are considered farms under the current laws. I am curious as to what "farms" they are taking into that 96%....only corporate farms? I also wonder considering that GA and other places employees prisoners to pick fields if they should have been shown in an ad where they are unable to purchase the product.


krysstizzle
by on Feb. 5, 2013 at 4:48 PM

How many truly small family famers (which the ad is ostensibly about) do you think could afford a brand new truck like that? 

Quoting Radarma:

 Targeting people who "think they are farmers"?

Jeez, op, you go right on with that rope.


smalltowngal
by Platinum Member on Feb. 5, 2013 at 4:48 PM

Dodge has done commercials aimed at Hispanics.  A lot of the farmers in my area have full-time jobs along with planting 50-100 acres. We have several teachers who are farmers. We are becoming more diverse though. Before the last census, my town was 97% white. 

Quoting krysstizzle:

Yeah, my previous reply addressed that. That (mechanization of huge industrial monocrops) is a whole other can of worms. I think small farm owner/workers and demographic is definitely regional.

Quoting smalltowngal:

I live in a small farming town. It's 92.5% white only. Some of the larger, family farms might bring in migrant workers for 3 months of the year but the majority don't. My next door neighbor doesn't. Actually, there are a lot of hs kids that work on farms around here. The majority of that commercial looked like it showed northern crops like corn and wheat. You don't usually hire migrant workers for those crops. Everything is done by machine. The only people that really bring in migrants workers are those that grow things like tomatoes, cucumbers or cabbage.  

Quoting krysstizzle:

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.







krysstizzle
by on Feb. 5, 2013 at 4:53 PM

I'm sure they have. A lot of the commercials we see here are aimed at Hispanics (I'm in New Mexico), so it's what I'm used to seeing. 

Here, when we say small scale family farm, we're talking 2 (yes, two) to about 50 acres. Over that it's definitely medium to large scale.  Most of the small farmers here have full time jobs, as well. 

Quoting smalltowngal:

Dodge has done commercials aimed at Hispanics.  A lot of the farmers in my area have full-time jobs along with planting 50-100 acres. We have several teachers who are farmers. We are becoming more diverse though. Before the last census, my town was 97% white. 

Quoting krysstizzle:

Yeah, my previous reply addressed that. That (mechanization of huge industrial monocrops) is a whole other can of worms. I think small farm owner/workers and demographic is definitely regional.

Quoting smalltowngal:

I live in a small farming town. It's 92.5% white only. Some of the larger, family farms might bring in migrant workers for 3 months of the year but the majority don't. My next door neighbor doesn't. Actually, there are a lot of hs kids that work on farms around here. The majority of that commercial looked like it showed northern crops like corn and wheat. You don't usually hire migrant workers for those crops. Everything is done by machine. The only people that really bring in migrants workers are those that grow things like tomatoes, cucumbers or cabbage.  

Quoting krysstizzle:

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.








smalltowngal
by Platinum Member on Feb. 5, 2013 at 4:56 PM


I'm guessing you don't grow a lot grain crops or hay down there. Your crops are probably all high maitence ones. 

Quoting krysstizzle:

I'm sure they have. A lot of the commercials we see here are aimed at Hispanics (I'm in New Mexico), so it's what I'm used to seeing. 

Here, when we say small scale family farm, we're talking 2 (yes, two) to about 50 acres. Over that it's definitely medium to large scale.  Most of the small farmers here have full time jobs, as well. 

Quoting smalltowngal:

Dodge has done commercials aimed at Hispanics.  A lot of the farmers in my area have full-time jobs along with planting 50-100 acres. We have several teachers who are farmers. We are becoming more diverse though. Before the last census, my town was 97% white. 






Radarma
by "OneDar" on Feb. 5, 2013 at 4:59 PM
1 mom liked this

 Do you know what "the wine country" is and refers to?

Answer to your question, plenty.

I emphatically disagree with the perception of some to this partiuclar ad campaign. And like a pp already said, this shows how effed up most of us are when it comes to what the hell "racism" even IS anymore.

Enjoy your post.

Quoting krysstizzle:

How many truly small family famers (which the ad is ostensibly about) do you think could afford a brand new truck like that? 

Quoting Radarma:

 Targeting people who "think they are farmers"?

Jeez, op, you go right on with that rope.


 

krysstizzle
by on Feb. 5, 2013 at 5:02 PM

Nope. We don't have the water or the soil (don't tell some of these farmers that, though; they'll be pumping out water until the aquifer collapses)

There is quite a bit of alfalfa and cotton, but even farmers that grow those have smallish (comparatively) acreage. There's a lot of chile and onions and pecan orchards. For bigger areas, those are the main 5 and they make up the majority of all crops. There's quite a bit of diverse vegetable production here, too though, and that's all done fairly small scale. 

Quoting smalltowngal:


I'm guessing you don't grow a lot grain crops or hay down there. Your crops are probably all high maitence ones. 

Quoting krysstizzle:

I'm sure they have. A lot of the commercials we see here are aimed at Hispanics (I'm in New Mexico), so it's what I'm used to seeing. 

Here, when we say small scale family farm, we're talking 2 (yes, two) to about 50 acres. Over that it's definitely medium to large scale.  Most of the small farmers here have full time jobs, as well. 

Quoting smalltowngal:

Dodge has done commercials aimed at Hispanics.  A lot of the farmers in my area have full-time jobs along with planting 50-100 acres. We have several teachers who are farmers. We are becoming more diverse though. Before the last census, my town was 97% white. 

Quoting krysstizzle:

Yeah, my previous reply addressed that. That (mechanization of huge industrial monocrops) is a whole other can of worms. I think small farm owner/workers and demographic is definitely regional.

Quoting smalltowngal:

I live in a small farming town. It's 92.5% white only. Some of the larger, family farms might bring in migrant workers for 3 months of the year but the majority don't. My next door neighbor doesn't. Actually, there are a lot of hs kids that work on farms around here. The majority of that commercial looked like it showed northern crops like corn and wheat. You don't usually hire migrant workers for those crops. Everything is done by machine. The only people that really bring in migrants workers are those that grow things like tomatoes, cucumbers or cabbage.  










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