DEAR HARRIETTE: I’m a 17-year-old African-American girl who attends a mostly-white boarding high school in Ohio. My parents are very successful politicians and want me to get the best education. I’m thankful to go to my school, but I get picked on for being black, and I feel lonely most of the time. I have one friend, and she helps me get through the days, but most of the time I get pushed, called names, and once I even got things thrown at me. I don’t want to worry my parents, but I’m so unhappy here. What should I do? -- Lonely Girl, Columbus, Ohio
DEAR LONELY GIRL: There is no way your parents can help you if you keep this abusive behavior a secret. You are not expected to handle this on your own, even though you are in boarding school. Sit down with your parents this summer, and tell them what you have experienced. Be specific and name names. Your parents will need that information in order to address this. If you have spoken with any school officials about the egregious behavior, share that information as well. Part of the discussion with your parents needs to be an evaluation of whether you should stay at that school or go somewhere else.
Unfortunately, racism still exists in our country, and you have been the victim of it. Your parents cannot shield you from it entirely, but if you are miserable at that school, you can find a more welcoming place to finish your education.