What My Bike Has Taught Me About White Privilege

This is very well done and will make a great teaching tool for anyone teaching or privilege and writing. Make sure your students take note of the authors style and how that relates to the intended audience. Also, note how the author builds ethos as he skillfully points out how white privilege is different from liberal white guilt. How successful is the “I’ve been there too strategy?”

Finally, asking the students what they think the author might be asking them to do instead of feel guilty is a question that could lead to an interesting discussion. Metaphorically speaking, what would building bike lanes look like if we applied the metaphor to, say, college admission? Are bike paths “separate but equal?” Is a question that could get a few nervous laughs, but it might also be worth thinking about because it leads to a deeper discussion on the nature of mataphor to knowledge. Such a discussion could lead students to new invition strategies as they try to make their own metaphor for discussing race and privilege.

Oh, one last last-thing: does the author suggest that we try to feel what others feel or does he want us to take action focused on creating a more equal world?

A Little More Sauce

The phrase “white privilege” is one that rubs a lot of white people the wrong way. It can trigger something in them that shuts down conversation or at least makes them very defensive. (Especially those who grew up relatively less privileged than other folks around them). And I’ve seen more than once where this happens and the next move in the conversation is for the person who brought up white privilege to say, “The reason you’re getting defensive is because you’re feeling the discomfort of having your privilege exposed.”

I’m sure that’s true sometimes. And I’m sure there are a lot of people, white and otherwise, who can attest to a kind of a-ha moment or paradigm shift where they “got” what privilege means and they did realize they had been getting defensive because they were uncomfortable at having their privilege exposed. But I would guess that more often than…

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