04/10/2017 11:21 am ET |
John Leguizamo Says Learning Latino History In School Would’ve Changed His Life
John Leguizamo’s new one-man show, “Latin History for Morons,” is all about giving Latinos credit for their place in U.S. history.
In an interview with Vogue published Thursday, the 52-year-old discussed what motivated him to write the show, which is currently running at New York City’s Public Theater.
Leguizamo recalled being treated like a foreigner as a kid because of his Latino heritage. Even today, the star said he’s told things like “You don’t belong here” on Twitter. But after discovering that his son was experiencing the same kind of bullying in school, he decided to read up on Latino heroes in U.S. history.
“If in my son’s class they would have read all the Latin contributions, people wouldn’t be so ready to attack us,” he told Vogue.
When asked about whether he was taught anything about Latino contributions to the country while in high school, Leguizamo said it was “nonexistent” in his education.
“There was a little bit of improvement in my son’s education, but Latin and black contributions — and I don’t mean to lump us together — were nonexistent in my public school,” Leguizamo said. “Even when I went to college, there was nothing. When I was studying the Civil War, there was nothing about everything we did, not one mention of any participation or contribution, ever. And it would’ve changed my life.”
In 2015, Leguizamo made the point that high school history makes Latino students feel “invisible” during a HuffPost Live interview.
“We’re not taught anything that we contributed to this country and we’ve been around for 500 years,” Leguizamo said. “Just imagine, you’re a white kid and all of a sudden everybody’s Latin and everything they’re teaching you is Latin and you don’t hear anything about yourself or about your contributions ... and you feel like you haven’t contributed anything. How would you feel? How would you think of your future? How would you think of your participation in American culture?”
The Chronicle of Higher Education in September 2016 featured a table showing the race, ethnicity, and gender of students at 4,605 colleges and universities in the fall of 2014, the latest year for which statistics are available from the U.S. Department of Education.
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