Tuesday, February 5, 2013

“God Made a Farmer…” and that Farmer Made a Slave

The “8th Day” of which Paul Harvey speaks, must have occurred in the 1950s and 60s with the end of (widespread) sharecropping. Last night, I was quite offended by Ram’s “God Made a Farmer” commercial during the Super Bowl. Well-meaning as it may have been, this commercial – airing during Black History Month, no less – made no mention whatsoever of the American Institution of Slavery. How could such an oversight be made? 

Industrial farming was built on the backs of African slaves. And while critics have duly noted the lack of mention of temporary immigrant workers on whom industrial farming presently relies, it’s even more offensive that no one – including critics – have mentioned the omission of American slaves. You see: an accurate depiction of American History would note that “God made a farmer,” but that farmer became greedy – became (Western) capitalist – degraded the humanity of the African and made a slave…imported slaves…traded in slaves. 

I’m not saying Paul Harvey was entirely wrong…but his quote seems a bit misguided. God may indeed have said that He needed someone “to get up before dawn…and work all day in the fields…,” but like President Lincoln stated in his Second Inaugural Address: “[i]t may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces…” But, God made a farmer…and that farmer made a slave. 

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