One of the reasons for being glad to be as old as I am is that I may be spared living to see a race war in America. Race wars are often wars in which nobody wins and everybody ends up much worse off than they were before.
Initial skirmishes in that race war have already begun, and have in fact been going on for some years. But public officials pretend that it is not happening, and the mainstream media seldom publish it at all, except in ways that conceal what is really taking place.
For American society, a dangerous polarization has set in. Signs of this polarization over the years include opposite reactions between blacks and whites to verdicts in the O.J. Simpson murder case, the "rape" charges against Duke University students, and trials resulting from the beating of Rodney King and the death of Trayvon Martin.
More dangerous than these highly publicized episodes over the years are innumerable organized and unprovoked physical attacks on whites by young black gangs in shopping malls, on beaches and in other public places all across the country today.
While some of these attacks make it into the media as isolated incidents, the nationwide pattern of organized black on white attacks by thugs remains invisible in the mainstream media, with the notable exception of Bill O'Reilly on the Fox News Channel.
Even when these attacks are accompanied by shouts of anti-white rhetoric and exultant laughter at the carnage, the racial makeup of the attackers and their victims is usually ignored by the media, and public officials often deny that race has anything to do with what happened.
These attacks have sent many people to the hospital, and some have died, but the attacks are often carried out in a festive atmosphere. What are called "troubled youths," in this and other contexts, are often in fact young people enjoying themselves greatly by creating big trouble for others.
Some of these many attacks are covered in detail in a book titled "White Girl Bleed A Lot" by Colin Flaherty. It was a phrase that I recognized immediately, from my own previous research.
That phrase was uttered by one of a group of black attackers who descended on a group of whites at a July 4th fireworks show in Milwaukee. But what happened there was not unique, either in itself or in the efforts of police and political authorities to play down what happened -- and to say that race had nothing to do with it.
When the Chicago Tribune was criticized for editing out the race of the attackers in a series of similar organized attacks in Chicago, it replied that race was irrelevant. Yet race is not considered irrelevant when indignantly editorializing on a disproportionate number of young black males arrested and imprisoned.
Sadly, what happened in Milwaukee and Chicago were not isolated incidents. They were part of a pattern repeated in dozens of cities, located in every region of the country. Colin Flaherty's book, which is subtitled "The Return of Racial Violence to America and How the Media Ignore It," reveals this pattern in painful detail.
Other books are emerging that are more clearly a white backlash, in the sense that they attack behavior patterns among contemporary blacks in general.
Perhaps the most clearly backlash books are those written by Paul Kersey, whose central theme is that whites have created thriving cities, which blacks subsequently took over and ruined. Examples include his books about Birmingham ("The Tragic City") and Detroit ("Escape from Detroit").
Kersey even takes a swing at Rush Limbaugh (and at yours truly) for saying that liberal policies destroyed these cities. He says that San Francisco and other cities with liberal policies, but without black demographic and political takeovers, have not been ruined. His books are poorly written, but raise tough questions.
It would be easy to simply dismiss Kersey as a racist. But denouncing him or ignoring him is not refuting him. Refuting requires thought, which has largely been replaced by fashionable buzz words and catch phrases, when it comes to discussions of race.
Thought is long overdue. So is honesty.
Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305. His website is www.tsowell.com.