Over the summer, a selfie with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and his interns went viral for all of the wrong reasons. People on social media criticized the photo for its lack of racial diversity, as nearly all of the interns in it were white. It was hoped that a lesson had been learned following the ensuring public relations nightmare.
Enter Mike Pence.
The vice president-elect took a selfie with House Republicans on Thursday. Once again, there were virtually no people of color in the photo.
Across social media, people called out the photo for its obvious lack of racial representation.
Despite the selfie's lack of diversity, 2016 was a great year for adding more people of color to the halls of Congress. The 115th Congress will have a record 102 total minority representatives — including a record number of African Americans, Hispanics and Asian Americans elected.
Perhaps the biggest notable gain is the addition of three new women of color who will serve in the U.S. Senate: Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, Kamala Harris of California and Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada. However, while a record number of 21 women will serve in the Senate, the number of women in the House will drop from 84 to 83.
The Pence selfie symbolizes the racial divide between both parties. Of the 38 women of color in the next Congress, only three are Republican.
Let's be clear — both parties need to do more to increase gender and racial diversity in Congress. The key to doing this will be to improving grassroots efforts by recruiting more women and more people of color to run for local and state offices so that they can one day run for federal office.