Thursday, February 7, 2013

Message to Dodge Trucks ~ American Farmers Are Not Just White Marlboro Men

Dodge Trucks scored a hit with their nostalgic Super Bowl ad, a slideshow of pictures featuring white male American farmers with a voice-over of legendary radio man Paul Harvey reciting a poetic speech from 1978. That part is cool - he was a daily radio presence while I was growing up and I'm glad people still remember Paul Harvey. The rest of the commercial has a few problems . . .

The video now has nearly 3 million views on YouTube, but how well does it reflect the realities of American farm life?

For instance, where are the people of color? There is one picture of an African-American man, but what about Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans ~ aren't they farmers too, and don't they play a huge role in the agriculture of our country? Why did they ignore the contribution and history of those who pick fruit and crops, pluck chickens, and do all the other agricultural jobs no one else wants to do in this era of corporate farming?

Uh, more importantly, doesn't Dodge want them to buy trucks? If so, they should think about spending some advertising money to reflect the new demographics of our nation.

Several Latinos have edited the commercial to reflect the real American Farm Experience - see below:

"It's a white-washed ad," said Axel Caballero, founder of Cuéntame, a Latino nonprofit. "(The) composition of America has changed. The faster brands understand that, the better they're going to do."

In response, Cuéntame uploaded its remixed version of the Ram truck ad to its Facebook page, keeping the audio but replacing some of the photos with images of Latino farmworkers. Cuéntame's caption to the post read, " 'God made a farmer' ad - K, we fixed it!"

. . . As for the faces of farmers in America, 71 percent of agricultural workers in the U.S. were born in Mexico and Central America, according to a 2011 U.S. Department of Labor National Agricultural Workers Survey. Just 29 percent of U.S. farm workers were born in the USA and Puerto Rico.

And God Made a Farmer by Paul Harvey

And on the 8th day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, "I need a caretaker." So God made a farmer.

God said, "I need somebody willing to get up before dawn, milk cows, work all day in the fields, milk cows again, eat supper and then go to town and stay past midnight at a meeting of the school board." So God made a farmer.

"I need somebody with arms strong enough to rustle a calf and yet gentle enough to deliver his own grandchild. Somebody to call hogs, tame cantankerous machinery, come home hungry, have to wait lunch until his wife's done feeding visiting ladies and tell the ladies to be sure and come back real soon -- and mean it." So God made a farmer.

God said, "I need somebody willing to sit up all night with a newborn colt. And watch it die. Then dry his eyes and say, 'Maybe next year.' I need somebody who can shape an ax handle from a persimmon sprout, shoe a horse with a hunk of car tire, who can make harness out of haywire, feed sacks and shoe scraps. And who, planting time and harvest season, will finish his forty-hour week by Tuesday noon, then, pain'n from 'tractor back,' put in another seventy-two hours." So God made a farmer.

God had to have somebody willing to ride the ruts at double speed to get the hay in ahead of the rain clouds and yet stop in mid-field and race to help when he sees the first smoke from a neighbor's place. So God made a farmer.

God said, "I need somebody strong enough to clear trees and heave bails, yet gentle enough to tame lambs and wean pigs and tend the pink-combed pullets, who will stop his mower for an hour to splint the broken leg of a meadow lark. It had to be somebody who'd plow deep and straight and not cut corners. Somebody to seed, weed, feed, breed and rake and disc and plow and plant and tie the fleece and strain the milk and replenish the self-feeder and finish a hard week's work with a five-mile drive to church.

"Somebody who'd bale a family together with the soft strong bonds of sharing, who would laugh and then sigh, and then reply, with smiling eyes, when his son says he wants to spend his life 'doing what dad does.'" So God made a farmer.

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