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That Great Super Bowl Ad About Farmers Got Something Wrong: The Farmers

The emotional spot praising American rural resourcefulness that had everyone talking missed one thing: Most American farmers aren’t white. A new version paints a more accurate picture.

Dodge Ram’s Super Bowl ad, "Farmer," used radio broadcaster Paul Harvey’s paen to American fortitude as an emotional narration to pictures of American farmers hard at work. And while there is nothing better than stirring hymns to the American spirit (especially if you want to sell cars), some people noticed that the images that accompanied the ad might be presenting an old-fashioned version of America—even more old-fashioned than the fact that most Americans are no longer working in the fields all day.

The fact is, more than 70% of the farm workers in America today were born in Mexico (PDF). Does Harvey’s list of attributes of farmers apply to them? Certainly as much as it applied to any white farm workers. But it’s hard to find a Latino face in the entire ad.

So, the Latino advocacy organization Cuentame has re-cut the spot, but with pictures that more accurately reflect the ethnic composition of who is actually growing America’s food. Then we can praise the actual farmers who, in Harvey’s words, "finish his 40-hour week by Tuesday noon, then, pain’n from 'tractor back,' put in another 72 hours."