Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan posted this photo in July. Ryan expected the selfie with a group of young Republican party interns to receive a positive response, but instead, people were outraged. Texas Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson responded on Twitter with a similar photo of the Democratic Party’s young interns, captioned “The picture of the Democratic interns look a lot different than the #speakerselfie #DemInternSelfie #Diversity.”
The reason for the outrage is uncomfortably obvious when comparing the two side by side: the Republican interns are nearly all white. A close look reveals a few lone individuals representing minority groups, compared with the diverse group of interns the Democrats have brought into their ranks. The photos raise questions about the access, or lack thereof, that minorities have to positions of influence in Washington.
African Americans represent the largest racial minority group in the United States. According to a 2015 census, a full 13.3% of U.S. citizens are of African-American descent, while 77.1% are Caucasian. The Democratic party interns are in line with these statistics, but African Americans are vastly underrepresented in the Republic party group, as are other minorities.
— Alex Schepflin (@schepf_) July 19, 2016
— Charles Rangel (@cbrangel) July 19, 2016
People voiced their anger on Twitter. User Carlo M tweeted, “Lol shows how #GOP is so out of touch with the rest of modern America. #SMH #GOPsoWhite #DemInternSelfie.” User JLD agreed, tweeting, “This has to be the whitest selfie of all time #GOPSoWhite #RNCinCLE.” Another user tweeted, “Nothg has EVER summed up my party&pride more. Diversity is SO BEAUTIFUL! SO PROUD!!#DemInternSelfie #Dem2016.”