Mike Pence's Selfie Reflects a Truth About Racial Diversity in Congress

November 17th 2016

Tricia Tongco

On Thursday, Vice President-elect Mike Pence took a selfie with a large crowd of House Republicans. In addition to referencing "The Shining," people on Twitter commented on the lack of diversity represented in the photo.

In July, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) was similarly criticized for the lack of diversity in a selfie he took with Congressional interns. 

Twitter users pointed out that there only appeared to be one black person in the photo. 

Neither Mia Love (R-Utah) nor Will Hurd (R-Texas), the only two black Republicans currently serving in the House of Representatieves, were pictured. 

This game of racial "Where's Waldo" highlights a diversity problem in Congress, which "remains disproportionately white when compared with the U.S. population, which has grown increasingly diverse in recent decades," according to a Pew Research analysis. In 2015, Pew reported: "Since 2001, the number of House Democrats who are minorities increased by 18, from 56 then to 74 now. By comparison, there was an increase of seven representatives among House Republicans over the same period, rising from four then to 11 now."

However, there are a few diversity milestones from the 2016 election.

As ATTN:'s Laura Donovan reported, California Attorney General Kamala Harris, Nevada attorney Catherine Cortez Masto, and U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) won Senate races on November 8. Harris is the first Indian woman and the second black woman to hold a Senate seat, Masto is the first Latina to be elected, and Duckworth the first Thai-American.

Another milestone to celebrate: Despite the fact that Republicans did not elect a single new black member to the House of Representatives, the congress that will take office in January will be the most racially diverse in history.

[h/t BuzzFeed]