As I was looking for inspiration for my next blog, I found it in the most peculiar of places, “Netflix”. I was truly in a slump due to the dreary “Winter is coming!” weather so decided to see if there was anything new and interesting for me to watch and dissect with whoever was willing to put up with me that moment. That is when I found John Leguizamo’s “Latin History for Morons” comedy. Let me just say this. WOW just WOW. Satirical comedy and hard truth all rolled into one and wonderfully executed. His dramatic portrayals reminded me a bit of Dave Chappelle, a satirical image of preconceived ideas while highlighting the ignorance of stereotypes.
Leguizamo tells the story of his son’s struggles that his history teacher assigned and the lack of representation of the Latinx community in the classroom. His goes on to joke, but not really, about Latinos bearing the unfaced trauma of colonization and that’s why they are always emotional and angry. He speaks about the Colombus’s colonization (please watch on Netflix what he calls him lol) and the colonization of the Incans in South America and that somehow Latinxs today carry these burdens. He explains this is why he is struggling as a father to help his struggling son.
This is why we have Public History. This is why we need to decolonize ourselves, our classrooms, our museums, our TV shows. We need more of this. It is so real and helps fill in the space of the empathy deficits that so many spaces face today. Public History provides the tools to help do all of these things. It provides a voice to those have been suppressed into being voiceless. It revives the dead with social memories. It creates space for the histories that did not have a place once before. Breaking down these barriers is SO IMPORTANT for those carry the burdens of oppression. We work together to take off some of the weight of others. We have a certain responsibility to act as agents of change with our positions of privilege to encourage a shift in our culture.
Even though older generations think of the millennials as the cry-babies and then gimme-gimmes. We offer so much more than just being social media influencers, photographers by the dozen, and snowflakes.
We are the thinkers. We are the up and coming. We are the Revolutionaries. We are being taught that some change is definitely for the better. We are creating the shift for others to learn from, for others to be released from the thousands of year old trauma.
Leguizamo ends his Netflix with the anecdote of his son’s eighth-grade graduation speech, “But the biggest thing that I learned while I was failing outta school this year was, as one of my fellow classmates once said to me, “You’re thing king of nothing.” But if the Mayans invented the concept of zero then nothing is not nothing. And if they can make something out of nothing then my hero is me.”
“But if the Mayans invented the concept of zero then nothing is not nothing and if they can make something out of nothing then my hero is me.”
This. Speaks. Levels.