Sikh Slayings: White Anxiety Gone Extreme

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Getty Images

(The Root) — When Wade Michael Page walked into a Wisconsin temple last week, murdering six Sikh worshippers and critically wounding three others, it was an incident waiting to happen.


As the neo-Nazi loser marched through the temple randomly shooting one Sikh after the next, perhaps the "14 words" motto of white supremacists was running through his warped mind: "We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children."

To the insecure and frightened haters in our nation, the end of white dominance in America is increasingly inevitable. Besides being red, white and blue, the good old US of A is steadily becoming brown, black and yellow — a majority-minority nation.

During a 12-month period that ended July 2011, for the first time in America's modern history, more minority babies were born than white babies. Casually referred to by white supremacists as members of "the mud races," Hispanic, black and Asian newborns made up 50.4 percent of the nation's births during that period. Just 22 years ago, minority births accounted for a much lower figure — 37 percent.

"White supremacist groups have been having a meltdown since the Census Bureau predicted that non-Hispanic whites would lose the majority by 2050," said Mark Potok, spokesman for the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitored Wade Michael Page in particular for the past 12 years, and hate groups in general for much longer than that. "The demographic change in this country is the single-most-important driver in the growth of hate groups and extremist groups over the last few years," he told ABC News.

Last year Potok's organization reported that hate groups in America had exploded to more than 1,000 from 602 at the beginning of the millennium.

Domestic terrorist Page, a 40-year-old U.S. Army reject, who died from a self-inflicted wound during the Oak Creek massacre, could take credit for some of that growth. For more than a decade, Page had been playing hate music. He played with white-power heavy-metal bands affiliated with Hammerskins Nation, and he led a couple of bands of his own, Definite Hate and End Apathy. His music appealed to other young white losers, creating new haters every day. It also raised money to help bankroll other hate groups like the National Alliance, the violent hate group that inspired Timothy McVeigh to blow up a Oklahoma City federal building in 1995.


According to the Anti-Defamation League, which also monitors America's white supremacy groups, the names of these racists bands reveal what's on their minds and in their hearts, names like Grinded Nig, Jew Slaughter and Aggravated Assault. "In keeping with its attempts to reach out to young people, one label, named Resistance Records, even markets a white supremacist video game, 'Ethnic Cleansing,' " the ADL reports on its website. "The game is a first-person-shooter in which the player takes on the role of a white warrior in a future 'Race War,' who must kill all nonwhites to ensure 'the survival of your kind.' "

Although these virulent, malicious white supremacists, who wear their hate on their tattoo sleeves and everywhere else, are more or less a limited group of bigots, they may merely be the underbelly of a larger phenomenon.


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.


Cybercolumnist 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.