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Mark Potok: Hatemonger
by John Perazzo
In the wake of the recent murder of six worshippers in a Sikh temple outside of Milwaukee, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) reported that the killer, 40-year-old Wade Michael Page, was "a frustrated neo-Nazi" as well as a musician who had performed with two "racist skinhead bands." Moreover, SPLC said that it had been listing the website of "Label56"—the distributor of albums produced by one of Page's bands—as a "hate site" since 2006 "due to its active promotion and distribution of racist hate music." In the final analysis, Page and his cohorts were on SPLC's radar because that organization classifies Page's brand of hate-filled stupidity as a form of "right wing" thinking, which it views, in turn, as the principal fountainhead of America's allegedly persistent bigotry against nonwhites, homosexuals, and Muslims, among others. To be sure, the "HateWatch" section of SPLC's website carries the caption, "Keeping an Eye on the Radical Right." The Radical Left gets no mention at all.
SPLC senior fellow Mark Potok, who serves as editor-in-chief of the Center's quarterly journal (Intelligence Report) and blog (Hatewatch), holds conservatives in very low regard—asserting, for instance, that the Tea Party "and similar groups" are "shot through with rich veins of radical ideas, conspiracy theories and racism." Moreover, Potok has unambiguously declared that the "biggest domestic terror threat" in the U.S. today "pretty clearly comes from the radical right." With regard to Wade Michael Page in particular, Potok surmises that "this man almost certainly mistook Sikhs for Muslims." "It is the same old story that we see every time," says Potok, "the same old story we saw with Balbir Singh [an Indian-born Sikh who was gunned down by a white man in Arizona] and those three murders after 9/11."
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