Tuesday, October 26, 2021
79.1 F
Fort Worth

House Speaker Paul Ryan uncovers Jewish roots on PBS show

🕐 2 min read

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — House Speaker Paul Ryan was surprised and proud to find out he has Jewish roots.

The Wisconsin Republican discovered his family history while filming a segment for the upcoming season of the PBS series “Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates Jr.”

Gates said Tuesday at a TV critics meeting that he traced Ryan’s heritage back to his 10th great-grandfather born in 1531 in Germany. The research showed Ryan is 3 percent Ashkenazi Jewish.

“You could have knocked him over with a feather and then he was very proud of it,” Gates said of Ryan’s reaction. “We don’t know who that Jewish person was, but we know it was on his mother’s German line, which makes sense. So somebody who was a Christian German slept with a Jewish German person and that’s where that came from.”

Also featured on the show’s fifth season debuting in January is Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii.

Gates said he chose Ryan because he was fascinated by him and not his politics. He picked Rubio because he wanted to include a Cuban and Gabbard because of her Pacific ancestry.

“Her genome looks like the rainbow coalition because it’s Asian and European and African and it’s beautiful,” he said.

Rubio’s history was traced to his fifth great-grandparents born in Italy and on his father’s side his seventh great-grandparents born in the Canary Islands, off the northwest coast of Africa.

“There was a lot going on politically and in terms of immigration for him,” Gates said.

Gates’ wife, Marial Iglesias Utset, is a Cuban historian and she had her graduate students research Rubio’s history in addition to hiring people in Cuba to find his family tree in parish churches.

“It was like a challenge, an intellectual challenge for me,” Gates said.

Gates said his purpose in doing the show is to deconstruct race and show how racism manifests itself in the current anti-immigrant feeling in the United States.

“We’re all immigrants. We’re all mixed up,” he said. “When the lights came down, everybody was sleeping with everyone else.”

Related Articles

Our Digital Sponsors

Latest Articles

Texas Rangers
Fort Worth Business Press Logo
This advertisement will close in
00
Months
00
Days
00
Hours
00
Minutes
00
Seconds
seconds..
Click here to continue to Fort Worth Business Press

Not ready to subscribe?

Try a few articles on us.

Enter your email address and we will give you access to three articles a month, to give us a try. You also get an opportunity to receive our newsletter with stories of the day.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Get our email updates

Stay up-to-date with the issues, companies and people that matter most to business in the Fort Worth.

  • Restaurants
  • Technology
  • and more!

FWBP Morning Brief

FWBP 5@5

Weekend Newsletter

  • Banking & Finance
  • Culture
  • Real Estate