Sikh Slayings: White Anxiety Gone Extreme

America's browning drives a backlash that found its most virulent strain in Wade Michael Page.

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When the Tea Party and other conservatives cry, "We want our country back," it doesn't take much imagination to translate what that means as the nation's demographics and culture continue their colorful shift.

Mainstream conservatives have been spewing coded, dog-whistle racist messages since Ronald Reagan's "Welfare Queen" speech in 1976 and the Willie Horton ad employed in the George H.W. Bush 1988 campaign against Michael Dukakis. More recently, the billionaire Koch brothers and their right-wing organization, Americans for Prosperity, were accused of buying a North Carolina school board in an effort to resegregate the Wake County school system.

So I wasn't exactly shocked when conservatives attacked Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano when she issued a report in April 2009 warning that right-wing extremists threaten American security. The nine-page report, titled "Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment," documented the smoldering hate among the nation's extreme right-wing groups, warning that some individuals might commit violent acts. "If such violence were to occur," the report said, "it likely would be isolated, small-scale, and directed at specific immigration-related targets."

Conservative commentator Michelle Malkin posted a blog with this headline: "Confirmed: The Obama DHS Hit Job on Conservatives Is Real."

Another conservative website, Alex Jones' Prison Planet, is headlined, "Homeland Security Report Lists 'Liberty Lovers' as Terrorists."

And then-top Republican of the House Intelligence committee, former Michigan Rep. Pete Hoekstra, charged "unsubstantiated conclusions and political bias," worthy of a House investigation.

I would like to attribute all this hate to good old-fashioned American exceptionalism, but I would be wrong.

A year ago, Norwegian Anders Behring Breivik went on a shooting and bombing spree that left 77 people dead, many of them teenagers, almost all of them Muslims. Like his brethren in the U.S., he hated Muslims, he hated people who didn't look like him and he hated cultural diversity.

I fear this is just the beginning. Not only are some white Americans threatened by the encroaching "mud races," but there is a quickening recognition around the planet that the world is yellow, brown and black.

Less than a quarter of the world's population is white. By 2060, fears conservative Pat Buchanan, that percentage may dip into the single digits.

Cyber columnist Monroe Anderson is a veteran Chicago journalist who has written signed op-ed-page columns for both the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times and executive-produced and hosted his own local CBS TV show. He was also the editor of Savoy Magazine. Follow him on Twitter.

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