The Biden administration is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayer funds to study why minority children read Japanese comic books, part of an initiative to implement "diversity, equity, and inclusion" in the nation's libraries.
The Institute of Museum and Library Services, a federal agency under the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities, this month awarded New York's Queens College $313,318 to conduct a three-year study of manga and to "understand why [black, indigenous, and people of color] kids read manga," a style of comic book that originated in Japan. The grant is aimed at closing the "knowledge gap" for librarians who are "unfamiliar" with manga and to identify manga titles popular with teenagers. The grant is provided under the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program, which aims to "develop a diverse library and archival workforce" and "reduce equity gaps and address issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion" in libraries.
It is the latest example of the Biden administration using taxpayer dollars to fund diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives. The State Department sent $100,000 to Palestinian groups to promote DEI principles and is spending $12 million to implement DEI in Iraq. The administration recently spent $90,000 to study diversity, equity, and inclusion in the construction industry. The Washington Free Beacon reported that the Biden State Department has spent nearly $5 million to help foreign activist groups stage pride parades and drag shows.
Queens College will partner with an organization called Manga in Libraries, which formed in 2021 to promote manga in school and public libraries. The group recommends manga titles that focus on racial, LGBTQ, and disability issues, such as The Bride Was a Boy, described as a "charming tale" about "a woman assigned male at birth" who explores "her sexuality, gender, and transition."
To promote the inclusion of girls in manga, Manga in Libraries recommends The Ancient Magus' Bride, which tells the story of Ainsworth, "a seven-foot-tall humanoid with an animal skull for a head," who marries a 15-year-old orphan girl he purchased at a slave auction.
A growing number of Democrats have embraced nerdy hobbies like manga in recent years. Missouri Democrat Lucas Kunce, who is challenging Sen. Josh Hawley (R.), owns up to $50,000 worth of Magic: The Gathering cards, the Free Beacon reported. Kunce did not list the value of his "rare and expensive" collection of fantasy trading cards on financial disclosure forms.