Living Here

The BigFoot Beach controversy. 
Last week the Geneva Shore Report brought into discussion, once again, the vaguely disguised “war” between the boaters sitting offshore of BigFoot Beach and the picnic-goers and beach attendees trying to use the small strip of sand that runs for about a hundred yards between the stretch of South Lake Shore Drive and the lapping water itself.

That small strip is closed with two fences, while the waters, only inches beyond, are wide open.  The water just beyond the beach is accessible to the boaters who moor their boats along the shore and then all (yes, strangely enough) stand in the ever-yellowing water and drink can after can of an assortment of beers and other alcoholic beverages.  Meanwhile, the downtown beach in Lake Geneva has thousands of paying tourists visiting it every day, and the other money-charging beaches around the lake too. Nobody is closing those profit centers of sand.

The only free beach is at BigFoot. Anyone can pull over, drop off the family and frolic all day long, and not have to pay fifty, sixty, or more dollars to do so. The controversy wasn’t around the ridiculous closing of the free beach.  It was about the GSR’s comments with respect to who goes to that beach and picnics in the park across the road from it.

Most of those attendees are of Mexican/Spanish/Latino/Hispanic descent.  The article in the GSR referred to these people as the “brown people,” and the boaters as the ‘white folk.’  For some unknown reason, the usage of those words was considered “racist” by some people writing in to comment.  One woman called in, using violently threatening expletives.   Finally, in the mostly one-way conversation, the woman was asked a question: “what do we call black people?”  She hung up.

The article’s thrust, as with many articles appearing in the GSR’s ten-year past, was in support of the beachgoers, whatever they might be called, and against the idea that the waist-wandering and depositing boater population (whatever they might be called) is somehow entitled to all the space along the “Paradise Road” length.

They are not. The GSR is vividly, plaintively, and sincerely in pursuit of social and racial justice.  The GSR takes a knee, and that’s not going to change.   “We have a dream,” and “Viva Zapata” are more than airy old expressions to the staff of the GSR.  They are part of the foundational belief system the publication is viscerally founded upon.  That living fact has not, and will not, change.


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