This is a slightly modified version of a speech given at the senior-speak off and intended to be a shortened version of a graduation speech.

A character in some obscure British film I watched once said something that really stuck with me: the best way to forget something, he said, is to commemorate it.

This is a hard topic for me to write about, simply because too much ink has been spilled over it: it's hackneyed, it's cliched, it's what we all say to make conversation with each other when there's nothing to talk about. "So, how about that Val food, eh?" After four years here, we get it. Val's food has a stereotype of not being particularly gourmet. Val's been slowly and steadily improving. Val needs more vegetarian food. Val's trying. Give Val a break.

When I read through my first draft of this article, incomplete, written over a month ago and forgotten in the crevices of one of my many draft article ideas folders, I nearly threw up my tea in my mouth. “On the dialectic of intellectual elitism and egalitarian accessibility” was my working title, and it just got worse from there on in. It was written in vague, hazy academese, with liberal arts college major words like “paradigmatic,” “praxis” and everyone’s favorite, “problematic”, cushioned in every single sentence.

What is your favorite sitting position in the classroom?
A. Legs spread, hand slung over the chair next to you, lazily twisting up your wrist instead of raising your hand to respond to a question.
B. Slightly in front of everyone else, even when the class is arranged in a semicircle/round table/other ostensibly egalitarian form.
C. Just sit somewhere, I guess.

There is a crucial, worrying and endemic lack of leftist discourse at Amherst College.

One late night at the end of the August of 2008, a quiet, unassuming girl from Shanghai, China, stepped onto the Amherst College campus, still relatively unfamiliar with American culture and looking forward to an education that would hopefully lead to a career in finance or investment banking. Now four years later, Yinan Zhang will be matriculating with a double major in Spanish and Economics, a close familiarity with three different cultures and languages and an acceptance into a Harvard Master’s program to research education.

A heated discussion took place in the AAS Senate meeting on Monday, and a large part of it concerned “privilege,” and being confronted with the “accusation” of being privileged. This article, while influenced by that discussion, is not focused on what happened at Senate, or on any other specific instance in particular, but aims to discuss a broader conception on what privilege is, and what being privileged means.