…And on the 3rd Day of February, between gliding leather bullets and human collisions; amidst frantic cheers and tears under the annual ritual we call the Super Bowl; God saw fit to allow the airing of a 2-minute TV commercial; One that tugged the hearts of armchair America, a Dodge Ram spot that paid homage to the caretakers of our land: So God Made a Farmer.
The commercial eloquently captured the blood, sweat and toil of this dying breed who faithfully provide sustenance to America’s families. And yes, I was riveted by the still photography and stirring 35 year old delivery of legendary radio broadcaster Paul Harvey. But as I sat mesmerized, I waited to see an image that spoke to my heritage. What flashed before me were close-ups of stoic white men whose faces drowned out the obligatory medium shots of a minority token or two; Their images minimized against the amber waves of grain.
God made a Black farmer too. Where was my Grandpa, Grandma and Great Granny? My Auntie and Uncle Bolden? And didn’t God make Hispanic and Native American farmers? They too were under-represented.
I am the offspring of a century and a half of African-American caretakers of the land, from Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana, who experienced their toils and troubles, their sun ups and sun downs. Their injustices and beat-downs. I wrestled with my mixed emotions; loving the commercial and feeling dejected at the same time. Come to find out. It is not an original concept at all, but a direct rip from the Farms.com website. Tsk, tsk, tsk.
Farmer isn’t original, but the execution is still stunning, so much so, you can easily miss the whitewash. Minimizing positive Black imagery and accomplishments is as American as wrestling cattle. We’re often footnotes or accessories in history books, TV shows, movies and magazines as well as TV commercials. When content is exceptional, the omission is harder to recognize or criticize. Some friends of mine saw – or rather felt – the omission as I did. Others did not. I say be aware and vocal about how you are represented – if represented at all, otherwise your importance and relevance will be lost.
What do you think of the Farmer spot?
- Dodge Ram Copied Its ‘Farmers’ Super Bowl Spot From This Farming Site (businessinsider.com)
- You Will Either Love Or Hate Dodge’s ‘God Made A Farmer’ Super Bowl Ad (businessinsider.com)
- Super Bowl ‘Farmer’ Commercial Explained: Where Ram’s ‘God Made A Farmer’ Ad Came From (huffingtonpost.com)