Like many of us, John Leguizamo wasn't exposed to Latinx history in high school or college. Now, he's doing something to educate himself, his son, and all of us about the Latinx heroes we didn't learn about in school.
The Colombian native created his one-man show, "Latin History for Morons," after his teenage son was bullied at school for being Latino. Leguizamo had also experienced bullying as a child and couldn't believe that kind of discrimination still happened.
"When my son got bullied, I couldn’t believe it was still going on, even for my kids, he told Vogue. "It was shocking to me."
In 2014, Leguizamo discovered that students were calling his son "beaner."
"We were in a private school. It's a very expensive New York City private school in 2014, I think it was," he told NPR. "And they're calling him a beaner, which is a slur to Mexicans. And you know, my son was very offended by it, and it triggered in him a lot of resentment. And then it became sort of cyber-bullying. Then it became violent, and then it became exclusionary. So he was excluded from parties, from events. People wouldn't talk to him."
The actor decided to study American Latin history to empower himself against anyone that tried to put him or his son down.
Although he wasn't educated about Latinx history, the 52-year-old isn't afraid to speak out against anti-immigrant rhetoric.
He has publicly agreed with former Mexican president Vicente Fox, which led to Twitter backlash. He told NPR that if all Americans were educated on Latinx history, they'd be less likely to attack him.
"Even right now when I tweet something political, you get these people attacking you. But I'm an American citizen; what are you talking about, you know?" he said. "I don't feel like they would attack me as much if in a textbook when they were growing up they read that 10,000 Latin people fought in the American Revolution and 20,000 fought in the Civil War and we had officers and awarded people in each one of those wars."
Just as Leguizamo proudly declares himself an American, "Latin History for Morons" lets the haters know Latin history is American history.