You cannot make this up:

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.

If any American suffers from dry asparagus, no American is truly free.

This reminds me of a classic Eddie Murphy clip.