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)


At 12:18 PM, Blogger Robin Edgar said...

Presumably the Dodge Super Bowl ads were aimed at “the *managers* of 96 percent of the nation’s farms” who, besides being 96% White, can potentially afford to buy a brand new Dodge pick-up truck, rather than the non-White foreign-born cropworkers who almost cannot afford to buy one. . .

At 10:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"the way this ad whitewashed American farming leaves Mexican farmworkers and their children ‘excluded from the process of patriotism,'"

Is there a reason why concepts of American patriotism are so interwoven with commercialism? Mexican farm workers don't need a superbowl ad to feel patriotic.

At 6:57 AM, Blogger Robin Edgar said...

I think perhaps it's the other way round. . . The "patriotism" in much American commercialism is intended to appeal to the jingositic national pride of many Americans.

On a side note I thought that the Super Bowl organizers were really pushing the limits of propriety, if not obscenely overstepping them. . . when they had the choir for Sandy Hook elementary school sing 'America The Beautiful'

At 2:56 PM, Blogger Chip said...

As much as it pains me, I agree with you, Robin. Having the children of Sandy Hook was nothing other than obscene.

At 7:06 AM, Blogger Robin Edgar said...



Post a Comment

<< Home