Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Kc Editor's Act Affirmed

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Kc Editor's Act Affirmed

Article excerpt

READERS of the Everyday section on Sept. 27 learned of the plight of Michael Ashcraft, who endorsed a Kansas City magazine's decision to dismiss him as a columnist in the interest of diversity.

All four columnists at Kansas City Magazine were white males. Editor Doug Worgul heeded a readership study suggesting that a female columnist's voice was needed - he fired his friend Ashcraft and hired a woman.

Ashcraft wrote: "It was certainly affirmative action to dump me and pick up an alternative voice - and I say rightly so. It's a concept called sharing. Sharing is, indeed, an affirmative action."

We asked what you would have done if you had been faced with Worgul's decision.

Readers John D. Steele and Jack L. Kime correctly pointed out that this was not a case of affirmative action. By definition, affirmative action calls for correcting the effects of discrimination in employment and education by making special efforts to recruit qualified women and minority workers. But it does not call for firing people to achieve diversity.

Steele wrote: "If I had been Worgul, I would have hoped the whole thing had been a bad dream, that I did not misunderstand affirmative action that badly. I would have hoped for enough sense to know that affirmative action does not require dismissal of staff for sake of color or gender. But if I actually did make this terrible mistake, I would cut everyone's pay - mine the most - to compensate Ashcraft with a substantial severance payment in consideration, also, of his release of my company and myself."

And this from Kime: "How does a man become so addled by political correctness that he actually praises a system that practices such blatant racism/sexism? . . . I can only wonder why Ashcraft is not running as fast as he can to the EEOC. Perhaps because that wouldn't get him a byline in the P-D."

Here are some other responses, edited in most cases for brevity's sake:

"Although affirmative action was not necessarily intended to work this way, obviously at times it does. What everyone needs to bear in mind is that the woman writer generally would have a more difficult time obtaining a job. And that, as the male writer has already proved, he is easily capable of attaining a writing position. …

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