One person’s view of Edmonds' cookie controversy | Guest View

By Robert Oxford | Feb 01, 2019
Robert Oxford

While scrolling through Facebook the other morning, I came across a photo. The caption read: "Really Edmonds Bakery? Really?! Your racism is so 'cute.' Lost my business."

Now let me be perfectly clear. You have the right to patronize any business you choose. You also have the right to NOT patronize a business for a particular reason, but shouldn't we at least give some thought as to why it is we're making such an adverse decision?

This one seems to be a knee-jerk reaction to what Edmonds Bakery Owner Ken Bellingham tells me was simply a joke.

Although I've not personally been to Edmonds Bakery, I did find their website and, from what I can tell, they create some fabulous cakes, cookies and desserts. After all, having been in business for 26 years, they must be doing something right.

Unfortunately, some may consider their most recent "creation" wrong.

Ken told me that the phrase "Build That Wall" has been so prevalent recently that, "As a joke, I decided to put it on a cookie ... one cookie." Ken was quick to tell me that he doesn't think there should be a wall, and he agreed that politics have no business in the workplace.

Especially the type of business he owns and operates, one that caters to people of all political affiliations and spiritual beliefs.

Furthermore, he appeared to be the type of person that given a chance could have very easily explained his reason for making such a "joke," but I have to wonder if he was even given the chance? Ken explained to me that he often makes "risque" creations for bachelor or bachelorette parties, the type that some might find a bit "edgy" or "questionable."

He then pointed out that the customer who voiced her displeasure with the "Build That Wall" cookie bought several of those.

Personally, I don't think building a wall is about racism. Nor do I think everyone who wears a MAGA hat is a racist. I have friends I've known for 40 years, both black and white, who support our current president, and I refuse to believe they're racists. I know them and I know the difference.

I believe in border security; I believe we all do to some extent. Does that make me/us racist? My objections to building a wall from sea to shiny sea (and I DO object) have more to do with the cost, its effectiveness and its symbolism.

It’s the notion that somehow America is off-limits. Not just to Latinos or Hispanics, but to everyone who isn't here already. Mr. Bellingham assured me that it was not his intention to promote building a wall, but realizes that at first glance someone could have easily gotten that impression.

But it was just one cookie.

Should Mr. Bellingham have been a bit more careful? Yes. Will he do it again? I can guarantee you he won't. I believe this is one of those situations that given too long to fester could easily ruin a man's reputation and his livelihood.

That's why I jumped on this story. Ken said he has received numerous calls already and appreciated the opportunity to tell his side and share it with the Edmonds Beacon.

I have to admit that as a writer and lyricist, I often struggle with ways to convey the same message and not sound redundant. I struggle with ways to be creative and keep things fresh. Let's be honest, "Be Mine," "I Love You" and "XXOO" on cookies is about as original as the Beach Boys going back out on tour without Brian Wilson, Dennis Wilson, Carl Wilson, Al Jardine or ... oh wait, never mind.

My point is that we all make mistakes. Sometimes what is funny to us or a "joke" may not be funny to someone else, and that's OK. What we do to break up the monotony of a workday may in fact give someone else the wrong impression and that's OK too, as long we're given a chance to defend ourselves if we so choose.

If I've learned anything over the past couple of years or, for that matter, weeks, it's that we need to stop and think before we react. Some day it may be you or I who has to defend something we said or something we did unknowingly or in haste.

If you get the chance, stop in the Edmonds Bakery and meet Ken Bellingham. This local business owner has been providing a service to our local community for the past 26 years. When you're there, ask him about building wedding cakes, not walls.

Rob Oxford writes occasionally for the Shoreline Area News blog.

 

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