Dear Dr. Laura:
At the local YMCA skating rink, my 16-year-old son was skating with his friend, a girl who happens to be African-American. They are not an "item" - they're just friends who were spending time together at the rink. Another guy skated by them and kept making comments under his breath about how the girl was really cute and then referring to the two of them as a couple. Then the guy "shouldered" her as he skated by. He came around again and came up behind them, this time, making a racial slur.
Before he could finish his sentence, my boy punched him square in the face....hard. When we were called about the incident, I had my husband go up in person, because he has a cooler head than I do! He arrived about the same time as the other kid's mom. She was livid and acting as if she might want to call authorities on our son. Then my son and his friend told their side of the story to the director of the rink and the other kid's mom, and to her credit, she turned on her kid and lit into him. She made him apologize and told him he was lucky he only got punched once!
Our son is about 6 feet now and still growing, but he always defends others. His moral compass is about as well tuned as it gets. You are absolutely correct that the solution to dealing with bullies is one good man or woman standing up to them. My husband and I have tried to model good character for all our children, knowing that we were not just raising boys and girls, but raising men and women who needed to have strong character. We were very proud of our son.