My wife surprised me with tickets to see Latin History for Morons on Valentine’s weekend and the show was incredible. We laughed, got angry, cheered, and laughed again! John Leguizamo is super talented and on a mission.
Without spoiling, a focus of the show was his son’s “Hero Project.” The son was tasked with identifying a hero he can research and present on. There is very little focus on the kings, queens, warriors, inventors, and so on of the Latin American nations in the middle school social studies curriculum. So both he and I are asking, why does our American History coursework not teach Latin American or Latino history? Why do the books just skip the Taino, Aztec, Mayan, and Incan people and begin with Columbus “discovering” America?
Here’s a couple of facts: We know Mexicans have been in the United States since before it was the United States of America. We also know European colonizers brought Africans to the Caribbean which in turn led to the Cuban, Puerto Rican, and Dominican ethnicities.
So dads, who will be our children’s heroes? Well, there are plenty to select from. And if schools won’t teach our kids about them, then as parents let’s get on it and not make them wait until they get to college. Here are some suggestions:
- Pair standard Social Studies coursework with Latin American/ Latino History that fits into the timeline.
- If given an opportunity to choose a literary work, suggest a list that includes Latin American or Latino authors or relatable subject matter. Check Latinos in Kid Lit for some suggestions.
- Here is a ‘required reading list‘ directly from the show’s website.
- Research Latin Americans or Latinos in STEM.
- Don’t forget about Art! Visit museums, use Google Arts & Culture, and check this ‘must know list‘ according to Latina.
There’s a lot of work to be done and I assume we will need to educate ourselves as parents first. Happy learning and happy teaching.
* If you know a reference website, book suggestions, artist, or any other recommendation, please feel free to share.