CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- America has a few angry, hate-spewing "skinheads" and white supremacists who fill their websites with vicious rants against Jews, Muslims, blacks, Asians, Hispanics and everyone else not descended from "pure" Northern Europeans.
These extreme racists can be dangerous, as demonstrated by Sunday's massacre at a Sikh temple near Milwaukee. Perhaps the neo-Nazi shooter mistakenly thought he was killing Muslims -- or maybe he saw only foreign-looking people he hated. Police are trying to discern his motive.
The killer had a West Virginia connection, because he once contacted the National Alliance, a Pocahontas County race-hate organization created by the late William Pierce. After Pierce's death, the Alliance fizzled -- thank heaven.
However, there's a subcurrent of U.S. racism that doesn't involve organized bigot groups. It's a streak of intolerance lingering in some whites who occasionally lash out at people who are ethnically different.
This ugly problem was spelled out Monday by an AT&T wireless communications engineer living in Scott Depot. After the Milwaukee massacre of Sikhs, Amrinder Singh wrote to CNN saying:
"Yes, I'm Sikh. I used to wear a turban every day when I was in Punjab India, but things changed after I came to the United States as a graduate student. I cut my long hair to work at a gas station, as I heard stories of hate crimes happening at gas stations to Sikh people wearing turbans and having beards."
Singh said he never encounters any racism at work, but some Kanawha Valley residents view him as a strange outsider. So he doesn't wear a turban in public, and worries for his family -- especially since the temple tragedy. He wrote:
"After this Oak Creek event in Wisconsin, I have to ask: Did I make the right choice in coming to America for higher education and getting settled here for betterment of my family's life at the risk of demolishment of my identity as a Sikh?"
American demographics are evolving rapidly. Relentless growth among Asians, Hispanics, blacks, Pacific Islanders, American Indians and other less-white people is transforming society. By the 2030s, traditional European whites will be less than half the population. Already, some states are "minority majority," and the number of white babies has fallen below half.
Race hate doesn't belong in such a melting-pot culture. It's a cruel remnant from the brutal past. We hope it finally disappears as America becomes the world's most cosmopolitan patchwork of humanity.