Category Archives: Family History

Dodge Gets Smacked for White Farmer Ad

It seems more people and publications are asking:  Where are all the browner-looking farmers? The reaction is to Dodge’s use of an “ode” to the farmer by right-winger Paul Harvey. The ad shows all these different farmers, but not different in color.

Actually, that wasn’t my reaction at all. My reaction:  What about the farm workers? Specifically…

And then he said, “oh shit, we need farm workers!” So, then, broken down trucks drove, I mean, migrated, to those farms…”

My reaction to farmers (which are defined as the actual farm owners) came from deep memories of our trek to North Dakota one year–and in an old, ’68 Chevy truck with a bad transmission. Our family business had hit some trying times, so my Dad decided that perhaps a summer of hoeing sugar beets would get us back on track. Boy, were we wrong. It ended up being a summer of indentured servitude, with the farmer “providing” overpriced housing in the form of an ugly, dusty trailer house. Of course, there was also that high-interest “credit” account the farmer provided at a local grocery store he either owned or got kick-backs from when the account was settled.

The store account was settled at the end of the summer because families got paid at the end of the summer, too. In our case, it ended a little early because of a sudden illness that hit my Dad. But, since my Daddy was a businessman, he was quite the bookkeeper. When the farmer brought us his accounting of the store credit account, well, it sure didn’t match-up to my daddy’s accounting of things. If anything, we were getting screwed–big time! Of course, what recourse do farm workers have, citizen or not? Especially in some other state. We headed back to Texas, with dreams of paying off bills and maybe even having enough to buy a new truck (Ford, not Dodge) dashed.

Still, we were a proud family. We knew how to make ends meet, and my parents knew how to work. We fought through the bad Reagan economy, Dad got a job working with the Highway Department, and completed that dream of home ownership. And yes, he got his Ford F-150. To my Dad, it seemed, that things were much different with farmers than when his Daddy was a sharecropper in South Texas and had better working relationships with them.

Perhaps that does not describe all farmers, but frankly, when Congress seems to be doing everything to take advantage of cheap labor through this new round of CIR talks, the beneficiary is ultimately the farmers. But as a friend pointed out, the whole Americana view of the farmer is quite tainted since family farmers (even like the one who screwed my family) are few and far between, taken over by corporate farms.

Funny, how a bunch of hot air from a right winger can set one off. Then again, we are in Texas.

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