Paul Ryan Criticized for Lack of Diversity Among Interns

Paul Ryan Criticized for Lack of Diversity Among Interns

By: Daniel Steingold | July 21, 2016

U.S. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan recently posted to Instagram a seemingly harmless, but heavily criticized selfie in which dozens of Capitol Hill interns are sitting behind him.

Posting the caption, "I think this sets a record for the most number of #CapitolHill interns in a single selfie. #SpeakerSelfie," Ryan has attracted controversy not because of any suggestive material in the image itself, but because there is very little to no ethnic diversity in the photo.

Some of the thousands of comments on Ryan’s post have responded with hashtags like "#WhiteWash" and "#RepublicansSoWhite." Others have simply made it a point to highlight how homogenous the group in the photo is, which many see to be counter to the growing diversity of America.

Another member of the House, Democrat Eddie Bernice Johnson of Texas, made perhaps one of the more noteworthy responses to Ryan’s post.

Johnson, an African-American, asked one of her interns, also female and African-American, to take a selfie with a larger and much more diverse group.

To emphasize the difference between her coalition of interns and Ryan’s, Johnson used the hashtag “#Diversity.”

Representative Xavier Becerra of California, also a Democrat, took his own selfie on Twitter with a smaller base of interns. Nevertheless, his group of interns was ethnically diverse, much like Johnson’s.

Becerra simply thanked his interns, while also writing, “We had a great group this summer. #BecerraSelfie.”

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