Editor's note: This post originally appeared on Black Copy. Reprinted with the author's permission.
And on the 3rd Day of February, between gliding leather bullets and human collisions, amidst frantic cheers and tears in the annual ritual we call the Super Bowl, God saw fit to allow the airing of a two-minute TV commercial -- one that tugged the hearts of armchair America, a Ram Truck spot [below] that paid homage to the caretakers of our land.
The commercial eloquently captured the blood, sweat and toil of this dying breed, those who faithfully provide sustenance to America's families. And yes, I was riveted by the still photography and stirring 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 shots of a minority token or two, their images minimized against the amber waves of grain.
And God made a Black farmer too. Where was my Grandpa, Grandma and Great Granny? My Auntie and Uncle Bolden? And didn't God make Latino and Native American farmers? They too were under-represented. (Check out this Latino response to the ad.)
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.
"Farmer" isn't exactly original, but the execution is still stunning, so much so, you can easily miss the whitewash. Minimizing positive Black and Hispanic imagery and accomplishments is as American as rustling 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?