The #?*! Sterotype

This semester, a t-shirt was designed for Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow by a fellow officer with the saying on the back “Keep calm and talk to cows.” Officers and members alike thought it was funny as we are always asked if we talk to cows after people hear we are agricultural communication (ag comm) majors.

However, there was a strong suggestion from an advisor to not to go forth with the saying as “agricultural communication majors talk to cows” and related sayings were used to make fun of and mock the ag comm degree across universities when it was new to the educational system.

We have decided to change the wording, possibly use “Keep calm and talk ag.” But the idea of agriculture trying to overcome such stereotypes has caught my attention.

Last year, at an all major honor society meeting, an animal science major began addressing everyone by stating something along the lines of “Please excuse my language. I’m an ag major, so do cuss sometimes.”

This semester, I have heard explicits used by ag professors sometimes when lecturing to the class. Even the f-word on more than one occasion.

Whereas, I haven’t heard a foul word muttered by professors in the mass communications department.

I have been in the fields when a bailer breaks down or calves go the wrong directions when herding them, so well aware that explicits are frequently used in everyday ag jobs. Even said a few myself. Sure working on Wall Street isn’t all sweets and puppies; Wolf of Wall Street blatantly shares the language they use.

Since foul language is common in the workplace, is it okay to use it in the classroom? After all, we are college students who have experienced the workplace to some degree.

BUT, back to stereotypes.

Farmers, ranchers, and any involved in ag are constantly being seen as the “uneducated hillbillies” in media and that has established that general perception in people who do not know the years of science that has allowed them to enjoy a steak that was a quality carcass from a healthy bovine and is free of bacteria for a decent price.

It was suggested to not say “keep calm and talk to cows” because of the mockery ag comm major had to overcome in years past. We are trying to establish a level of professionalism that people within and outside of agriculture acknowledge and respect.

Agriculture is trying to combat the stereotype of uneducated hillbillies producing food for Americans and the world. Would not using as many explicits in the classroom be a way to do so?

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