On this episode of the Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert tries to see if he has what it takes to be a migrant farm worker. He has to pack corn and pick beans with all of the brown folks who seem to have no problem doing the job. Colbert is supposed to be representing the typical white, maybe urban, American who has probably never been in a field, or thought about where the food they eat comes from. He asks too many questions, complains about the conditions, and tries to find ways to make his job easier. At the end of it they tell him that he isn't cut out to be a migrant farm worker and he responds by celebrating.
There have been so many videos like this made by comedians and talk show host like Stephen Colbert and John Stewart. This video assumes that the average American is not cut out for farm work and is probably not interested in doing such work. The videos are created to highlight the hypocrisy in the constant argument, that (im)migrants are draining the economy and taking jobs from hard working Americans. These videos, which are seen on TV and all over the internet, do give a different spotlight to Latin@ (im)migrants, which is helpful in this political climate. However, these videos do have the tendency to reproduce and reinforce stereotypes, even if those stereotypes include the "hardworking, Mexican farm worker," they still have the potential to work against the Latin@ community by creating this idea that because Mexicans are good at farm work, they should continue to work those jobs. Its similar to the idea of glorifying “women’s work” in the home in order to keep women from feeling the need to work outside of the home.
I value Stephen Colbert’s efforts and videos a little more because he actually used his privilege as a white man, and as a public figure, to speak in front of congress about migrant workers. He leaves the comedy out of his testimony and speaks from his experience in a very real way. I think he appeals to people because he doesn't sound very threatening although what he's saying is a very big critique of "Americans." Its just interesting to think about how different voices create different responses, even though they are attempting to speak on similar terms.