David J. Rosenberg's May 16 letter ("This Comment Was an Insult to City Voters") criticizing the PG's endorsement of Sharene Shealey for the Pittsburgh school board overgeneralized a statement attributed to Ms. Shealey in the Pittsburgh City Paper to mean that she "thinks that our city is racist." Mr. Rosenberg disputed Ms. Shealey's comment, implying that the city's support for Barack Obama is evidence that Pittsburgh is without a racism problem. The logic of his conclusion is faulty and obscures certain realties.
Racism and its insidious effects continue to exist. Barack Obama acknowledged this in his speech on race and America when he said, "the legacy of discrimination - and current incidents of discrimination, while less overt than in the past - are real and must be addressed."
The Pittsburgh Public Schools have a significant race-based performance gap. For 2006-2007, on standardized reading tests, white students scored 33.7 percent higher than African-American students. On math, the gap was 32.8 percent. My child's school openly acknowledges the racial gap in performance and is actively trying to address the issue.
Talking about race may make us uncomfortable, but it does not make us wrong. I congratulate Ms. Shealey for her victory in the primary, and I thank her for putting public words to what so many of us know to be true and want so desperately to change. Paraphrasing Barack Obama, it's time to reject the idea that those kids who don't look like us are somebody else's problem. The children of Pittsburgh are not those kids; they are our kids, and we cannot fail them.