Critics blast DOJ funding for projects tailored to gender, sexuality politics

(The Center Square) – A taxpayer-funded grant from the Department of Justice distributed $150,000 to “amplify the voices” of transgender people in New Orleans who are accusing the police of discrimination.

Based on the assumption that LGBT people of color are discriminated against by police, Rutgers University researchers pledged to find 25 subjects and “conduct narrative interviews” to document their experiences. This study is one of many examples of taxpayer-funded federal research dollars going to projects tailored to progressive gender and sexuality politics.

The study was titled, “Intersectional Subjection and Law Enforcement: Examining Perceptions Held by LGBTQ People of Color in New Orleans, LA.”

The grant was awarded in 2016 for the W.E.B. DuBois Program of Research on Race and Crime, a fund set up to collect data on race and crime.

The Dubois program’s website says its research funding is meant to examine “how observed racial and ethnic disparities in the justice system might be reduced through public policy interventions…” but in this case was diverted to gender and sexuality research.

“This is a vivid example of how politics shapes science,” Scott Turner, a professor who works with the National Association of Scholars, told The Center Square. “Scientists will work on whatever funds are available. Intersectionality and identity politics are official government policies right now, and will pay to get the ‘science’ that justifies the policy.”

Turner argues this type of spending is more pervasive within DOJ research, which has expanded significantly in recent years along with the DOJ’s budget.

“Rutgers currently has nine grants from the Department of Justice, totaling more than $7.6 million,” he said. “Of those nine grants, four are focused on identity politics, for a total of $6.6 million, 86% of Rutgers’ total funding from the [Institute of Justice]. And what will come of this project? Twenty-five people who will air their identitarian grievances, at $6,000 a pop. Not really ‘science.’”

The researchers did not find new data or survey a large sample to determine if New Orleans police officers were mistreating certain groups. Critics point out they assumed the discrimination was occurring and collected anecdotes from hand-picked individuals.

“We do need granular data on all these exchanges between law enforcement and Black Americans, so we understand what is going on, but this is not it,” Mike Gonzalez, with the Heritage Foundation, told The Center Square. “This is about perceptions. Their researchers have obviously already made up their minds.

“Hey, give me $150,000 to write a report that confirms my biases,” he added.

This research is one of several instances showing that while Americans are largely split on some of the most controversial gender, sexuality, and policing political issues, left-leaning educational institutions regularly receive taxpayer dollars to find evidence to back up pre-conceived narratives about these topics.

T. S. Gaynor, a former student at Rutgers who now works as assistant professor at the University of Minnesota, and Brandi Blessett, a former assistant professor in the Department of Public Policy and Administration at Rutgers University who now works at the University of Minnesota, wrote an article in Urban Affairs Review detailing the research.

“Ultimately, the goal of this project was to use the lived experience to explore the presence of predatory policing to understand how it has contributed to the marginalization of LGBTQ+ identifying individuals of color,” they wrote.

The pair makes clear the research was meant to find ways that “social control tactics are regularly used to maintain systems of oppression.”

Similar research trends have been seen in other federal agencies, such as the National Institutes for Health, which is tasked with researching and discovering the next generation of medical cures and treatments.

That agency, which receives more than $50 million annually, has increasingly used its research funding to look into LGBTQ issues instead of medical cures.

In one example, the federal health agency dolled out $432,000 in 2012 and 2013 for a study of Grindr, an app for gay men to find romantic and sexual encounters.

As The Center Square previously reported, that study pledged to “investigate the process by which MSM use smartphone applications to find sexual partners (i.e., who they look for, how they present themselves, how they communicate, extent of safer sex negotiation, and disclosure)” as well as “investigate the sexual and emotional states (e.g., more/less urgency, arousal, impulsivity)” of the men to see how if affects sexually risky behavior.

NIH has also diverted significant resources to studying equity issues. For example, NIH funded a $1.2 million grant to find evidence that racism is to blame for poor sleep in minority communities. The study assumed a hypothesis that the disparity in sleep health in the Black community was because of “experiences of interpersonal racial discrimination.”

“This is what is wrong with these studies,” Gonzalez said. “We need good data. We don’t need this.”

Rutgers did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication.

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