Speaker of the House Paul Ryan is no stranger to taking selfies and posting them onto his Instagram account. His latest, uploaded Saturday, was unlike any other — but not for the reason he intended.
"I think this sets a record for the most number of #CapitolHill interns in a single selfie," the former Republican nominee for vice president wrote on Instagram.
However, one thing was quite odd about his selfie, which featured more than 100 young people: there were virtually no interns of color in the photo.
While Speaker Ryan may not have noticed anything wrong with his selfie, people on social media were quick to point out the lack of diversity in the internship pool.
A 2011 National Journal Survey found that only 7 percent of Congressional staffers were nonwhite. And even though the current Congress is now slightly more diverse, a 2015 study found that the number of nonwhite staffers is still around 7 percent.
The startling lack of diversity on Capitol Hill can be partially explained by the fact that many staffers are underpaid for their work (most Congressional staffers don't receive overtime pay). Interns are not paid at all. Unpaid internships limit the pool of potential candidates to only those who have the financial means to work for free.
The good news is that more interns of color are working in Washington thanks to diversity initiatives from the Congressional Black Caucus, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and even the White House. By expanding the pool of talents to include interns of color, the next generation of Congressional staffers could be the most diverse ever.
(H/T: Daily Dot)