Since its inception in 1845, Scientific American has featured such luminaries as Albert Einstein, Linus Pauling, and J. Robert Oppenheimer, as well as exploring topics as disparate as perpetual motion and solar neutrinos. However, the journal now seems to be focused on a different set of important topics, such as how “problematic” the fictitious space fighters known as “Jedi” are.
“The Jedi are unacceptable mascots for social justice,” a group of five authors claim in a story published Thursday titled “Why the Term ‘JEDI’ Is Problematic for Describing Programs That Promote Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.”
They argue that the scientific community should abandon the Jedi, including naming things after them and displaying Star Wars memorabilia in public spaces, because the space knights are “emblems for a range of dangerously regressive ideas and preconceptions.”
The following are examples of evidence cited in the article:
- [The Jedi] are a religious order of intergalactic police-monks, prone to (white) saviorism and toxically masculine approaches to conflict resolution (violent duels with phallic lightsabers, gaslighting by means of “Jedi mind tricks,” etc.)…
- Star Wars arguably conflates “alienness” with “nonwhiteness,” often seeming to rely on racist stereotypes when depicting nonhuman species…
- [The] franchise’s cultural footprint can be tracked in the saga of United States military-industrial investment and expansion, from debates around Reagan’s “Star Wars” Strategic Defense Initiative to the planned Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure…
- Those unfamiliar or uncomfortable with Star Wars—including those hurt by the messages it sends—may feel alienated by the parade of jokes, puns and references surrounding the term JEDI.
Readers who might react defensively should question themselves why they’re “[prioritizing] the cultural dreamscape of the Jedi over the real-world pursuit of social justice,” according to the article’s authors. “How willing are we to fight Star Wars conflicts when that time and energy could be better spent fighting for social justice?” it questions at the end.
This looks to be part of a larger movement in Scientific American’s political leanings, which have been leaning liberal for many years and even endorsed Joe Biden for President last year in a political decision they had not ever made before in the publication’s 175 year history.