Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

Current Events & Hot Topics Current Events & Hot Topics

The Whitewashing of the American Farmer *superbowl commercial*

Posted by   + Show Post

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 (41-50):
dustinsmom1
by JENN on Feb. 5, 2013 at 6:56 PM
1 mom liked this

Who the fuck cares??? Its a cmmercial. smdh

EireLass
by Ruby Member on Feb. 5, 2013 at 6:59 PM

I live in a farm community. Most of the state is. Farming is such a part of life here, that the public schools close for a few weeks at potato harvest time. The kids go work on the farms.

mikiemom
by Ruby Member on Feb. 5, 2013 at 7:05 PM

 

And that was my point about the commercial in the first place. Yes other areas farm and produce food but the century old family owned farm passed down from generation to generation is really just a midwest thing. We never had migrant workers in Iowa on our farm, the local farmers banded together to compete with the big corporate farms.

Quoting Mommy_of_Riley:

Maybe on the pacific coast like this article suggests but I can tell you that's not the case in the midwest. My dad has always ran his farm on his own (with family help).

Same goes for all the family run farms in and around my hometown. Family owned and family ran.


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...



 

mikiemom
by Ruby Member on Feb. 5, 2013 at 7:09 PM

I get the point of the article but to tell the truth, I see a ton of Hispanic rednecks in this area driving around in Dodge pick-up trucks and many of them have the same work ethic as the traditional family farmer so even though Dodge didn't highlight that, the point was made to the right market - oh and the commercial didn't make me want to buy a dodge - but for the life of me I can't figure out why I want a volkswagen now lol - loved that commercial.

mikiemom
by Ruby Member on Feb. 5, 2013 at 7:09 PM

 

Do you know your racism shows in everything you post. It's really quite amazing.

Quoting dustinsmom1:

Who the fuck cares??? Its a cmmercial. smdh


 

mikiemom
by Ruby Member on Feb. 5, 2013 at 7:10 PM

 

the 1957 ford f150 that my grandfather drove is still used on the family farm today.

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 DeepThought on Feb. 5, 2013 at 7:22 PM

Why in the world do you assume I don't care about small family farms? That's ludicrous. You're assuming I don't care as long as the farmers are white. Being concerned about one issue (farmers of color) does not preclude my concern about other issues. 

And I know very well the issues and crap farmers face on a daily basis, though I don't know particlulars of this case you posted. 

Quoting BoysManDog:

And here is how the government treats small-family farms.  TWO farms will go under, and what about all the "brown" workers?  Oh, well... What difference does it make it at this point?
 
 
RAW DEAL

In December, I wrote for NRO about how the federal government was killing a small, environmentally friendly oyster farm in California.

It was a sad tale of government abuse: The Lunny family had invested everything they had in the farm, and they'd been successful with it. But the Interior Department, the National Park Service, and several environmental groups wanted to see the land the oyster farm was leasing turned into a wilderness area. They were willing to do whatever it took: They used deceptive science to justify the land grab. When the law became inconvenient, they simply ignored it.

And they've gotten away with it.

Yesterday, a federal judge ruled against Drakes Bay Oyster Co. It also denied an injunction that would have let the Lunny family continue to operate until they exhausted their appeal options.

It was never really a fair fight. The federal government threw millions of taxpayer dollars into its legal assault on the oyster farm. The Lunny family, which was simply trying not to go bankrupt, couldn't afford to fight back. They were represented pro bono by Cause of Action, a government-accountability group that stepped up when it heard about their plight.

It was David fighting Goliath, and this time, Goliath won. The ruling essentially ruins the Lunny family. They'll have to kill off their inventory of baby oysters, valued at nearly $5 million. They'll be left with a $300,000 loan and no way to repay it. They'll almost certainly have to declare bankruptcy. And they'll lose their multi-generational cattle farm, which they used as collateral to clean and restore the land for the oyster company.

The ruling is also bad news for their 31 full-time employees, who will all lose their jobs. Fifteen had homes on the farm. Like the Lunny family, they now have less than a month to find a new place to live.

Kevin Lunny, the patriarch and owner, said it best in December: "It will completely destroy us." That's your federal government at work.


krysstizzle
by DeepThought on Feb. 5, 2013 at 7:23 PM

IMost of the farmers and ranchers I know personally drive old beat-up things that they keep running forever. 

Quoting mikiemom:


the 1957 ford f150 that my grandfather drove is still used on the family farm today.

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.





quickbooksworm
by Silver Member on Feb. 5, 2013 at 7:24 PM
1 mom liked this
Because if they put Mexicans in the commercial they would have been accused of being racist... just like the commercial with Arabs in the desert. There was a no win situation.

And I grew up around watermelon and strawberry farmers... most of which were white and their families worked the crops, not immigrants.
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
mikiemom
by Ruby Member on Feb. 5, 2013 at 7:26 PM

 grandpa paid cash for that thing in 1957 lol - all of us grandkids are fighting over who gets it when my uncle is done with it.


Quoting krysstizzle:

IMost of the farmers and ranchers I know personally drive old beat-up things that they keep running forever. 

Quoting mikiemom:

 

the 1957 ford f150 that my grandfather drove is still used on the family farm today.

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.


 

 



 

Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)