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J. Dowsett’s “What My Bike Has Taught Me About White Privilege” Essay

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Updated: Feb 24th, 2022

Jeremy Dowsett’s article titled “What My Bike Has Taught Me about White Privilege” is a metaphorical comparison of riding a bicycle in a busy town and being a member of a minority group. The author uses this comparison to explore how both minority and majority groups view the concept of white privilege. The essay is a perfect portrayal of white privilege as a social construct that works to the advantage of minority groups and the detriment of minorities. Dowsett notes that “talking about racial privilege isn’t a way of telling white people they are bad people or racists or that they didn’t really earn what they have” (1010). Although white privilege is a real social construct, it does not mean that every white person is a racist taking advantage of the minorities. Adopting the blanket judgment that every white person thrives on white privilege is wrong, unrealistic, and amounts to stereotyping.

White privilege is inscribed in existing social systems that may take longer to change for social equality and equity to prevail. Like cyclists who must cope with dominating motor vehicles on the road, minority groups should adapt to the social conditions that seem to favor the white majority. Dowsett infers that even if all racists were eradicated, the existing system favoring whites would hardly change to favor minority groups (1008). Nevertheless, the author does not mention anything about the possibilities of redesigning transportation systems and infrastructure to suit different users’ needs. His omission might have been intentional since he might not have been interested in having a redesigned societal system that favors everyone regardless of race. However, the pursuit of equality and equity is a challenging endeavor that might take centuries to actualize. Acknowledging white privilege as a social construct vice that can be overcome would be a major step towards having a fair society.

Works Cited

Dowsett, Jeremy. “What My Bike Has Taught Me about White Privilege.” pp. 1007-1011.

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IvyPanda. "J. Dowsett’s “What My Bike Has Taught Me About White Privilege”." February 24, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/j-dowsetts-what-my-bike-has-taught-me-about-white-privilege/.

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IvyPanda. 2022. "J. Dowsett’s “What My Bike Has Taught Me About White Privilege”." February 24, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/j-dowsetts-what-my-bike-has-taught-me-about-white-privilege/.

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IvyPanda. (2022) 'J. Dowsett’s “What My Bike Has Taught Me About White Privilege”'. 24 February.

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