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The McKelvy House Scholars invite the campus to join a dinner discussion about those who are privileged and what it means to be privileged Sunday evening.

Dinner begins 6 p.m. at McKelvy House, 200 High Street; no reservations are required. Simon Scholar Vijay Krishnan ’07 (Maharashtra, India), an international affairs major, will lead the discussion at 6:30 p.m.

He notes that the Oxford Dictionary defines privilege as “1. a special right, advantage, or immunity for a particular person or group, 2. an opportunity to do something regarded as a special honour, 3. the right to say or write something without the risk of punishment, especially parliament.”

“I left the topic this wide and vague because I think it will promote a much more open discussion than one where I try to focus it too much, for sometimes looking at leaves can leave us lost in the forest,” he says.

Krishnan says the concept of privilege and being privileged is of personal interest to him. He suggests that people listen to Bob Dylan’s The Times They are A-Changin’ and “feel empowered.”

Questions for consideration in the discussion:

  • How does one define privilege or those who are privileged, looking across various boundaries of gender, nation, economics, culture, race, etc.?
  • How do the privileged view others — equals, more privileged, and less privileged?
  • Is it necessary for the privileged to use the underprivileged to get where they are?
  • How do the underprivileged perceive the privileged?
  • How do the privileged view charity?
  • How can a better understanding of privilege help us work towards a more egalitarian world?

As preparation for the discussion, Krishnan offers the following web sites:
The American Prospect article about globalization

Excerpt from Peggy McIntosh’s “White Privilege and Male Privilege: A Personal Account of Coming To See Correspondences through Work in Women’s Studies”

Since 1962, the McKelvy House Scholars program has brought together Lafayette students with a wide range of majors and interests to reside in a historic off-campus house and share in intellectual and social activities. Sunday dinner discussions that engage the students in debate and exchange of ideas are the hallmark of the program; several Wednesday discussions have been added this school year. Most members also contribute to the annual McKelvy Papers, written on a topic of each member’s choice. McKelvy Scholars participate in activities together such as field trips to plays, concerts, and exhibits, and sponsor events for the campus as well.

Previous discussions:
Oct. 24 – Modern religion
Oct. 17 – Capital punishment
Oct. 3 — Revenge
Sept. 26 — Suicide
Sept. 22 – Sexual lust
Sept. 15 — Envy
Sept. 12 – Themes from A Clockwork Orange
Sept. 8 – Materialism, satisfaction, and poverty
Sept. 5 — Obesity in America

April 25 — Anti-foundationalist critique of philosophy
April 18 – Dark humor
April 11 — Cults
April 4 — Link between ethical behavior and intelligence

March 28 — Five Images of Man

March 7 — Idealized body forms

Feb. 22 — Countercultures

Feb. 15 — Eternity

Feb. 8 — Bisexuality

Dec. 7 — Anger toward computers and technology

Nov. 9 — “Unnecessary” crimes

Nov. 2 — Genetic alteration

Oct. 26 — Social construction of gender

Oct. 19 — Greed as an economic force
Sept. 28 — Value

Categorized in: Academic News