Racial Abuse Inspired Republican Criticism In Oregon Democratic Senator’s 1971 Memoir

In an effort to lift Black sharecroppers out of poverty, a 20-year-old Harvard student picked weeds and harvested watermelons on a farm in southwest Georgia more than 50 years ago.

Jeff Golden, who was that student, is currently a Democratic state senator seeking re-election in a Republican-targeted seat in southern Oregon. They focused on “Watermelon Summer,” a 1971 memoir he wrote about his summer at Feather field Farm and which includes numerous instances of racial slurs.

Fox News published quotes from the book for the first time on Wednesday. A copy of “Watermelon Summer” was borrowed from a university library and read by The Capital Chronicle on Wednesday night.

Golden should quit, according to Oregon Republican Party Chairman Justin Hwang after the Fox News piece was released.

Every time you lift the curtain on Democrats, outright prejudice and hatred are visible, according to Hwang. “Senator Golden’s hateful remarks about Black Americans are shocking and inexcusable. The office of Jeff Golden should be promptly vacated.

In the meantime, Senate Minority Leader Tim Knopp urged Tina Kotek, the Democratic candidate for governor, to reject Golden’s support for her cause and the Democratic caucus leader in the Senate, Rob Wagner, to denounce him.

Racial Abuse Inspired Republican Criticism
Racial Abuse Inspired Republican Criticism

We serve voters from all backgrounds as elected officials, and Jeff Golden has demonstrated that he is unqualified for the position, according to Knopp. Southern Oregon merits better, I say.

Golden called the accusations “very cynical” and asked readers to study the full book before passing judgement. He acknowledged that he wouldn’t write it the same way now, but he stands by the fact that it was a product of his 20s written fifty years ago.

Golden claimed that the book was written by a passionate 20-year-old who had a very binary worldview. We get older, yet I’ll still refer to it as a book for 20-year-olds.

The small 152-page tome has been out of print for a long time. It is available at a few university libraries, notably those at Western Oregon University and Portland State University, as well as a few public libraries in other states.

On Amazon, it has two used copies for sale and one 3-star review from a person who met Golden in 2010 and described it as a “fairly fascinating read.” On the literary social media platform Goodreads, the book has one 4-star review that is falsely attributed to a different Jeffrey Golden, an aspiring children’s book author from Pennsylvania.

use of an accent or slur

Several times in the book, Golden uses the n-word. The first three examples appear early, following a chapter that discusses the possible risks of volunteering in the South during the Civil Rights movement.

Golden and his students spent their summer at the brand-new Featherfield co-op in Georgia, which was close to an Alabama farm co-owned by a group of Black Muslims who had given up and decided to sell that spring after white neighbours poisoned and shot several of their cattle.

In addition, Golden’s older brother, who had assisted in the registration of Black voters in the South, cautioned him to exercise caution and advised him to obtain life insurance.

Golden penned, “We don’t know what to expect. “The Feather field folks are not as politicised as the Muslims, but that may not matter much or at all to a white neighbourhood that sees a county full of haughty nβ€”s as a danger. Of course, nβ€”lovers are the only people lower than arrogant nβ€”s.

His host family’s 21-year-old son and the man’s friends were described as wearing thick black combs in their natural hair as “a little act of disobedience to demonstrate that the good-nβ€” requirement of a skullcap haircut is a thing of the past” in another chapter.

He used the slur twice more. The last time it was mentioned, Golden was writing about how the cops had harassed his group because they were “nβ€”-lovin’ white(s).”

According to Golden, he created the term to mock and describe the angry, racist speech he heard.

Books from that time period frequently used the word spelt out to express the vocabulary of racism, he claimed. I’ve long since discovered how much suffering that term has caused and continues to inflict, as well as how detrimental it is to use it in any circumstance.

Even though not a single one of the many readers who have written to me over the years has ever claimed that Watermelon Summer is even remotely racist, I can see how those who read the isolated sentences that have been going around this week could be extremely hurt by reading such a truly offensive word. I apologise for it.

More instances of the “ah” insult may be found throughout the book in direct quotations from white southerners discussing Black people. Every word spoken by both white people (“Boy, you don’t nevah, nevah live with ’em. You ain’t been to church one since ya bought dat automobile. We don’t perform that circle, do you? It is written in dialect (“You better get it straight, boy, ‘n’ tell yoah frens”).

According to Golden, he used dialect in his writing to portray what he heard. Since that time, he claimed he has learned that using dialect in writing might reinforce preconceptions about persons of different racial or socioeconomic backgrounds, and he no longer uses dialect in his conversations.

“Fifty years ago, I didn’t understand that. Not many authors, in my opinion, did,” he added. I, therefore, had no interest in supporting stereotypes. I was merely attempting to convey that this is the proof that I can see and hear. This was the situation.

According to Golden, this is the third election in that opponents have attacked him using quotes from his book. A group launched advertisements near the end of the recall effort in 1989 when he was a Jackson County commissioner and was the focus of logging interests due to his environmental views. The ads included quotes from the book about his opposition to the Vietnam War.

A covert dark money organisation known as the Women’s Action Fund spent $22,000 attacking Golden as a misogynist during his first Senate campaign in 2018. They did this by taking excerpts from the book “Watermelon Summer” and posting them online alongside a video of him confessing to cheating on his ex-wife.

The quotes on that page are taken from a passage where Golden complains about four or five of his coworkers who made the “busy work” of making lunches, collecting mail, and placing calls take up the entire day in order to avoid doing hard fieldwork.

Golden continues by describing how he and another male colleague discussed why it would be the case that the so-called busy workers were all female.

The author added, “Matt thinks their aversion to work is a manifestation of their chauvinism, the product of a socialisation process where women are encouraged to reject arduous, sweaty labour.” “I believe that to be a bunch of sβ€”.

If anything, I would assume that a woman’s socialisation would increase her willingness to comply with and submit to orders from men (in this case, Mr Johnson – the situation is complicated here by an abstract commitment to obey underprivileged black authorities in particular, as part of our “sacrifice”). I am therefore at a loss to describe the dynamics of our group using a sex role paradigm.

The anti-Golden website saw the passage as Golden advocating the subordination of women to men.

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