Starting on Thursday, a small but interesting conversation about literacy and privilege unfolded on Twitter.
The #GenerationReader hashtag, started by the Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson led to a outpouring of discussion about literacy, largely by people of color.
Mckesson started the conversation by talking about intergenerational trauma, the idea that trauma (resulting from an atrocity like slavery, or the Holocaust) can transfer from one generation to the next. Discussion also branched out to involve access to education, artistic work, economic factors, and a lot more.
Twitter users shared stories of being first or second generation readers, and what their relatives had dealt with.
Some people talked about how their families had been literate for several generations:
Still others expressed surprise and admitted they hadn't thought about literacy and reading generationally before:
Or acknowledged their privilege:
Some people, for various reasons weren't sure about how to answer:
Others simply told stories about their parents or grandparents:
The conversation was, all things considered, relatively small. According to social analytics site Topsy there were 425 tweets using the hashtag. Even so, it was affective, interesting, and got people involved. It's still, slowly, ongoing, and you can read some more of the discussion below.
Ethan Chiel is a reporter for Fusion, writing mostly about the internet and technology. You can (and should) email him at firstname.lastname@example.org