Tuesday, February 05, 2013

God Made Non-White Farmers, Too

“Maybe God did make farmers, but why’d Dodge [show us primarily] white ones?” asks Alexis C. Madrigal:
“It’s true that whites are the managers of 96 percent of the nation’s farms…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.”
Madrigal borrows Ta-Nehisi Coates’ phrase, pointing out that “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…more than half…for more than ten years. These are members of American communities and prospective citizens.”

Maybe it is still true that we in the US of A value hard work, but the overwhelming majority of people who “will finish [a] forty-hour week by Tuesday noon, then…put in another seventy-two hours” on farms are people of color. I know plenty of white folks who do work that hard; and I know many folks of color who do, too. I just wish that Dodge Rams’ Super Bowl ad (using Paul Harvey’s words) showed as many of the latter as the former.

If you want to see (and read about) some real farmers, check out Lisa M. Hamilton’s excellent work here (h/t Meteor Blades at DailyKos). Photo of Martin & Guadalupe Diaz by Ms. Hamilton.
(original post, with links, at So May We Be)