Scientific American Slams The Term Jedi As Problematic

By Apeksha Bagchi | 13 seconds ago

luke skywalker star wars scientific american jedi

The famous magazine, Scientific American, known for its problematic views and controversial pieces, has now set its eyes on why the usage of the term “JEDI” as an acronym for describing programs promoting justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion is contentious. The popular term has its roots in the expansive Star Wars franchise, where the Jedi have been labeled as the protectors of peace and the harbingers of justice. But according to the magazine, the term being used for justice-oriented initiatives serves to “undermine these efforts.”

In its recently published article, Scientific American has deemed the practice of using the term JEDI as “problematic.” The publication has highlighted that because the term shares its history with Star Wars, many have often explicitly referred to its science fiction roots while talking about its real-world ventures. This, in turn, unwittingly makes a justice initiative a part of a brand and associates it with fictional stories which start conversations that are not exactly in line with its motto of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion. What it is actually doing is providing Disney with advertising and promotion free of cost while “cheapening our justice work.” The article then proceeds to present several reasons as to why JEDI’s connection with Star Wars should be approached carefully while arguing that the acronym should be ditched completely.

According to Scientific American, the Jedi might be labeled as heroes within the Star Wars universe, they are actually “inappropriate symbols for justice work.” Apparently, the Jedi are nothing but “intergalactic police-monks” who perpetuate the idea of toxic masculinity as well as “white saviorism.” Also, when a Jedi uses its famed mind tricks, it is nothing but a way of gaslighting others and manipulating them. The article even calls the iconic action sequences in the franchise “violent duels with phallic lightsabers” that only serve to augment the existing sexist undertones in the story. 

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Scientific American further adds that by using the term “JEDI,” one is establishing it as something only a few have access to as the Jedi are an “exclusionary cult” because only a few are born with the ability to wield the Force and the franchise has restricted its usage to noble bloodlines like the Skywalker dynasty. This makes “JEDI” a host of “dangerously reactionary values and assumptions.” The publication also adds that the franchise has helped in aiding unjust practices such as sexism, racism, and ableism while  “threatening inclusion and sense of belonging” with its “problematic cultural legacy.” 

“While an overarching goal of JEDI initiatives is to promote inclusion, the term JEDI might make people feel excluded. Star Wars is popular but divisive. Identifying our initiatives with it may nudge them closer to the realm of fandom, manufacturing in-groups and out-groups.” 

The Scientific American article also establishes that by using the term “JEDI,” we have mixed up social justice with science fiction as when one reads the acronym, their first thought isn’t justice, it is a mental image of warriors clad in robes, wielding lightsabers, and battling stormtroopers. This imagery, which is poles apart from the original agenda of the acronym, only serves to discourage the actual understanding of its core meaning while worsening “existing problems and challenges endemic to institutional justice work.”

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Since the Scientific American article, ridiculing the usage of the term “Jedi,” was published many have taken to social media platforms to slam the overly “woke ideology.” Everyone from political commentator Dave Rubin, Daily Caller editor Hayden Daniel to other readers of the publication, many have called out the magazine for its “meta-nonsense.”

This is not the first time that Scientific American has attracted public ire on social media for its divisive views. The magazine recently retracted a massively criticized article that accused Israel of conducting vaccine apartheid and blamed it for war crimes as well as human rights abuses against Palestinians.