HOT BLAST: This just in from the veggie section
Jul 23, 2013 | 1556 views |  0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
10/13/11 BC-US-FEA-FOOD-THANKSGIVING-CITRUS (citrus-glazed asparagus).AP Photographer Matthew Mead.HOLD FOR LIFESTYLES
10/13/11 BC-US-FEA-FOOD-THANKSGIVING-CITRUS (citrus-glazed asparagus).AP Photographer Matthew Mead.HOLD FOR LIFESTYLES
A St. Louis Post-Dispatch article on the grocery store's treatement of a vegetable has the city buzzing. 

As explains, the story - Dry asparagus prompts questions about racial discrimination in University City"and criticism of it went viral." 

Stephen Deere's July 17 article begins like this:

A dried-out batch of asparagus has touched off a debate about racial discrimination, grocery stores and the role of citizen-led commissions.

It started in May when resident David Olander was perusing the produce section of the University City Schnucks. He noticed the asparagus weren’t resting in a tray of water.

“It was just sitting there dried out,” said Olander, a member of the city’s human relations commission.

Olander summoned an assistant manager, and then he asked the question: Did the quality of the asparagus have any relationship to the store’s location in a black neighborhood?

“‘I certainly hope not,’” Olander recalled the manager saying.

Olander’s experience prompted him to write a letter to Schnucks CEO Scott Schnuck, and out of that came a meeting with Schnucks employees.

But the letter and meeting were tinged with allegations that the St. Louis area’s largest grocery chain was discriminating against minority communities — accusations that Schnucks vehemently denies.

“Schnucks does not discriminate on any level,” said spokeswoman Lori Willis.

After the story blew up, editor Gilbert Bailon explained:

The approximately 20-inch Post-Dispatch story was not a definitive investigative piece, which would have warranted weeks of field work, or one that sought to present conclusions. It was a balanced news story with a short shelf life. Like asparagus.

It was no story for the ages, but neither was it displayed that way. A one-column headline on a hot July day usually doesn’t incite the incendiary reaction among the hundreds of Post-Dispatch stories written last week. Yet some saw hidden motives buried in the seams.

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