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What My Bike Has Taught Me About White Privilege By Jeremy Dowsett

A few years ago, Jeremy Dowsett, a Lansing, Michigan resident published an article, “What My Bike Has Taught Me About White Privilege”. In the article, he tends to outline and compare being a minority to the concept of riding a bike, particularly in the busy city. The author wrote this article to bring out the explanation of the idea that is regularly discussed everywhere “White Privilege,” in a less aggressive manner, as it can be seen from both sides. In the most of his work, Dowsett puts a clearer image of what the “White Privilege” is, in the social background. Riding a bicycle, sometimes in the society makes you feel like you have been marginalized. The agreeable point is the comparison of the “White Privilege” with bicycle riding, which is rationally correct as most white privileged people are car drivers on roads and present my response as follows.

After reading the writing of Dowsett, it was picked out that Jeremy was a white man and he was a father to the children of different races or cultures, so “white privilege” is an imperative subject for Dowsett to discuss because he was witnessing the difference between both the parties and he experiences that what it is like to be on both sides when by himself and with his family as well. Knowing so, he chooses to establish a comparison with riding a bike because he totally depends on his own bicycle as an everyday transportation, and in his busy Lansing town of industrialism, riding a bike through the busy streets was not always an easy job. While relying on the bicycle, he had many unsafe encounters with drivers which cause him to trickster the death many times. In the article, Jeremy claimed that he had his experience while riding his bike one day and his experience on while riding the bike was not so different from the citizens that are in minority citizens and are facing the society that is designed by keeping white individuals in mind and this thought clicked him as he took his bike on the busy street of the city that had many prioritized cars and trucks. He used the bike as his transportation in a system that gives privilege to the automobile, and minorities that are the majority the victim of the violence caused by police, to make it in a terrestrial made for the white people.

The author, Dowsett uses the examples from his life in helping make the image of the subject crystal clear. He focuses on the awareness of the readers and helps them understand what “white privilege” really means without displaying any wrong image of any class. After reading the writing, I believe he successfully brought the focus to when he intended to and that is white privilege. While elucidating the topic, it triggers or drags many white people in it who do not fall under the criteria or heading, that is, “White Privilege”, discussed in the piece of writing by the author. However, when I was reading this article, I discovered a thoughtful and well-written paragraph where the author explains the overall idea of “White Privilege”. He typically explores the inequalities or imbalances between the white people and other people from different ethnic backgrounds from several angles. These included the access, tendency of unintentional, road conditions among others. However, these are potentially the most damaging behaviors that are associated with what he calls “Privileged” motorists and unjust laws. In his article, he says, “But privilege talk is not intended to make a moral assessment or a moral claim about the privileged at all. It is about systematic imbalance. It is about the injustice that has arisen because of the history of racism that birthed the way things are now” (Dowsett, 985).

According to the article, Dowsett tries to explain how car drivers tend to act aggressively, mainly when they are using the same lane, and he is on his bike. In fact, he says, “Now sometimes it is dangerous for me because people in the car are just blatantly a-holes to me. If I am on the road -where I legally belong- people will yell at me to get on the sidewalk” (Dowsett, 986). Here it is crystal clear that most road users who own vehicles, specifically automobile are the one who holds the entire road. He tries to convince the reader how the road construction privileged those people who own only own cars, but nor for some people who ride bikes like him. He puts it clear how the even people he has never meet becomes angry at him for using the bike on the road. In this response, he uses the bicyclist as the minority in the street, since most road rules and regulation have privileged the drivers. Adding to the response of the reading. political correctness is an incorrect concept that has been used to omit probably words that are abusive in nature, just to comfort people who possibly could get insulted by them.  Even today, we are surviving or living in a world in which our daily routine lives are dictated by political correctness.  In America, the biggest percentage of political correctness lies in the subject of one’s gender and color. Similarly, in some sentences, the author manages to show how he supports his audience or readers to understand and realize the concept of “white privilege” and that he explains in one of the sentences is “what privilege means and they did realize they had been getting defensive because they were uncomfortable with having their privilege exposed”. People don’t really think the way same way. Adding to it, in another sentence, he uses the same subject and that is “And if this were what “white privilege” meant—which it is not— defensiveness and frustration would be the appropriate response”.  This sentence depicts the fact that why some people understand that because according to some people, they say, “You don’t know because you’re white when they want to talk about racial”.

Another topic that is addressed in the article is the entire experience of the author on roads as being compared to the cultural differences. However, I don’t think that the knowledge of Dowsett is detailed enough, even if it is terrible. In his analogy, he makes some other poignant points about how the entire transportation infrastructure is constructed and designed only to accommodate cars. He tries to use the same concept to show how the American Society or else, the United States is meant for accommodating the white people only. However, his point is still wanting and ahistorical. And through this discussion, the author manages to depict that it’s not just about the entire transportation infrastructure that is built in favor of cars but it’s also about the law, which is not strongly obligated on the car drivers when they hit the cyclists. Comparing minority with bike riding is not the best way to go through the concept of racism as well as a privilege.

Therefore, in conclusion, there are many reasons for my justifications; first, bike lanes as the author admits, are relatively new to our society and road construction board. But both privilege and racism are not new in the society author is living in. They have been around for many years and this epidemic is right there ever since the beginning of America. In the same case, nobody was given the right that he/she can choose his/her skin color; it is something people are accompanied with from birth and something that is something a person is blessed with before he/she comes into this world. And every day, they are treated differently due to their skin color. So, judging and treating someone based on. their skin in no one’s right because the person been on the target haven’t made or chose his/her color. On the other hand, most people choose to ride a bike and even if you eliminate those who do it for recreation, and check those who are using it as a mode of transportation, it is all the matter of their own choice. At the same time, the system is designed this way, which is needed to be altered to remove the difference been harbored in the society.


Dowsett, J. (2014). What My Bike Has Taught Me About White Privilege. NFG. pp. 984-988



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