Faith, race and New Hampshire have been in the news.

“Hey, you, Blackhead!” The remark was addressed 30 years ago to my granddaughter, Amber, then 6. She was the only black first-grader in her New Hampshire town.

“What do you mean by that?” was Amber’s direct reply.

The counsel from her mother, my daughter, had been: “Never pick a fight but stick up for yourself if you have to.” Amber had this in mind.

Warming to the subject, the little taunter went on: “You’re black from the top of your head to the tips of your toes.”

Upon hearing this much of the story, this Irish Catholic grandmother was ready to get on the first plane from Portland to deliver an angry lecture to the tormentor.

But I learned that Amber had risen beautifully to the challenge.

“Well,” she responded, “you’re white from the top of your head to the tips of your toes. That’s the color you are. My color is black and I’m pretty sure I have a good heart.”

Today, Amber lives in Northeast Portland and has her own two daughters. She is a mediator and does diversity training. I am proud of her.

Jean Mitchell

Northeast Portland