The manager of a Walmart in McDonough, Georgia was forced to issue an apology this week after workers refused to decorate a cake for a police officer's retirement party. Given the heightened tensions between law enforcement agencies and communities of color in recent months—resulting in the deaths of numerous African-American men at the hands of the police—the employees claimed that the “thin blue line” cake the officer's family had ordered could be “perceived as racist” and made them feel uncomfortable.
According to the Telegraph, the frosting fiasco began to make headlines after Taylor Wilkes, a Georgia police officer and a family friend of the newly retired cop, posted on Facebook about the incident.
"There is nothing racist about the symbolism behind the ‘thin blue line,’ yet people CHOOSE to make EVERYTHING about race,” Wilkes wrote. “It's only ignorant people who continue to spread this negativity. People need to educate themselves. Bottom line. I'm just waiting for the day that our American flag is deemed ‘racist’ by ignorant instigators who are just looking for attention and for something to be upset about.”
After the initial confrontation, the retired officer's daughter—who has chosen to stay anonymous—says she then requested that the bakers make her a simpler cake, with just a blue line and chocolate background. According to the Telegraph, the workers also refused to make that designing, claiming that they "didn't feel comfortable" baking that cake, either.
After getting wind of the situation, the store’s manager apologized to the family, gave them a $50 gift card, and finally made them a "Blue Lives Matter" cake. Though it remains unclear whether the family specifically asked for the phrase to be written on the cake, in the past, movements like Blue Lives Matter have been criticized for shifting the focus off of the dangers facing the African-American community.
Still, despite the manager’s efforts, the family who ordered the cake wasn't satisfied, claiming the store’s apology was insincere, and that the cake ultimately wasn’t up to par.
“[The result] looked terrible,” the officer’s daughter told the conservative radio host and columnist Todd Starnes. “It doesn’t look professional.”