Privilege and Advice: In Conversation with Noam Chomsky

World Renowned linguist and political activist came to speak at my Uni last week, and I was fortunate enough to go and hear him. The format was a Q & A, in which students could submit their questions previously, with some also being taken on the day.

It was really fascinating hearing about his life, from growing up in 1920’s America, to his opinions on the relationship between South and North America. Actually, it was kind of mesmerizing, because he is a genuine fountain of knowledge, with something interesting to say about everything.

As an (almost graduated) English Language student, I primarily know him as a linguist, so it was really interesting to hear about his political stance, and his clear support for Bernie Sanders.

At the end of the talk, the host asked the question “what is your advice for the undergraduates sitting here in this room today?” and I really haven’t stopped thinking about his answer.

He shone light on the very question, commenting that in third world countries where people have less privilege, no one ever asks for advice. However, as university students who have such easy access to education, our privilege is practically overflowing, and he says that’s when people always ask for advice.

This really hit home, as we have so much privilege, we ask for advice to figure out what to do with it. This served as a reminder to use the privilege we have to help others and to “do something with the opportunities we have.”

Thanks Chomsky, I knew I loved you for a reason!


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