What is wrong with this picture?
While the Republican lawmaker’s selfie skills are up to par, the racial makeup of the (largely) homogenous pool of interns has sparked a much-needed debate about the white reality of the Capitol Hill.
The picture, which shows a group of shiny-faced, smiling, white young adults (except for maybe three Asian interns), has struck many online users as tone deaf.
It has also left many to wonder how Ryan did not spot the racial disparity in the photo before proudly sharing it on social media — especially during the heightened debate over race relations in the country.
While Congress’ disproportionate lack of color is no secret, the selfie above does paint a disturbingly worrisome picture of the government.
Naturally, Twitterati had a lot to say about it.
The Paul Ryan "Capitol Hill Interns" Selfie looks like a scene from The Wolf of Wall Street - only less diverse. pic.twitter.com/5lBuxzrcyR— dan barker (@danbarker) July 17, 2016
This is what a diverse Capitol Hill and America looks like to Paul Ryan.— Nerdy Wonka (@NerdyWonka) July 17, 2016
USA! USA! USA! pic.twitter.com/tmf4eT4YbH
Much diversity. Such white. So amaze. Wow. pic.twitter.com/UNaesB1Y4T— Pedro Torres-Mackie (@pedrotp) July 17, 2016
Yes, awful lotta white people but also why is Ryan posing like a magician who just finished a trick? pic.twitter.com/IckO7Gk1rs— Jordan Freiman (@JordanFreiman) July 17, 2016
A 2015 research study by Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies analyzed the lack of racial diversity among top Senate staff positions.
Titled “Racial Diversity among Top Senate Staff,” the study revealed that, “although people of color make up over 36 percent of the population and over 28 percent of the citizen voting-age population, they represent only 7.1 percent of top Senate staffers.”
The researchers also suggested a number of initiatives to increase diversity — including employing the NFL’s “Rooney Rule,” which requires league teams to interview minority candidates for head coaching and senior football operation jobs, in all hiring processes.
The report also advised the senators to hire interns and fellows from various minority leadership programs and to implement an implicit bias training program for staff members who make hiring and evaluation decisions.
Another report by Pew Research Center suggests only 17 percent of Congress is non-white, even though white people (83 percent of Congress) make up just 62 percent of the general population.