After several one-man shows in which John Leguizamo demonstrated his flexibility in portraying multiple members of his own family and neighborhood growing up in Jackson Heights, the comedian and actor has expanded his horizons with his first Netflix special, Latin History for Morons.
Because it’s 2018, and two years into Trump, Leguizamo realizes he can speak not only for his own generation of Latino Americans, but also for all of those who came before him, and for those he hopes will live a better life in America.
But Leguizamo’s lesson plan serves up as much of a condemnation of Christopher Columbus and the conquistadors who followed, as it does for Donald J. Trump. He even links the two: “Columbus was the Donald Trump of the New World.” And finds that throughout the five centuries from 1518-2018, time and again the white Europeans have wiped out the ancient Americans; from Spanish conquistadors exterminating the Taino, Aztecs and Incas, to Andrew Jackson’s Indian Removal Act of 1830, to Herbert Hoover’s repatriation of Mexican-Americans, deporting them in 1930, to Trump’s current and ongoing anti-immigration and threats to rescind birthright citizenship once more.
“How dare he, when we’re so American it hurts!” Leguizamo asks.