Star wars, the successful franchise started by George Lucas (THX 1138 – 88%, Summer Madness – 96%, Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope – 93%) in 1977, it became a worldwide phenomenon, capable of inspiring millions to spend their money on whatever new product hit the market. However, it has also inspired people concerned about social justice; At the heart of the saga are the rebels who fight an evil empire and want to restore democracy and freedom, and the Jedi Knights, an order charged with keeping the peace in the galaxy.
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Scientific American, which is the oldest continuous publication magazine in the United States (since 1845), published an article criticizing the claims of many fans to relate the Jedi to social justice, assuring that in recent years some institutions such as The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine have used the acronym JEDI for “justice, equity, diversity and inclusion”, but it is a problematic use :
Jedi are inappropriate pets for social justice. Although seemingly heroes within the Star Wars universe, Jedi are inappropriate symbols for the work of justice. They are a religious order of intergalactic police-monks, prone to saviorism (white) and toxicly male approaches to conflict resolution (violent duels with phallic lightsabers, gaslighting via ‘Jedi mind tricks’, etc.). The Jedi are also an exclusive cult, whose membership is based in part on possessing heightened physical and psychic abilities (or ‘Force sensitivity’).
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Long ago the writer Margaret Lockyer She also pointed out that Anakin Skywalker’s fall to the Dark Side was due to the practices of the Jedi, described by her as “toxic masculinity.” Now, the Scientific American article titled “Why the Term ‘JEDI’ Is Problematic for Describing Programs That Promote Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion” , diversity and inclusion) puts his finger on the sore again.
Even though Anakin Skywalker came from poverty, as we could see in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace – 55%, that he was freed from slavery by the Jedi was due to having a huge number of midiclorians, which It highlights a discrimination based on innate powers such as the use of the Force, and in the following installments the value that is given to the lineage is highlighted.
The media recalls that most of the saga is focused on white men, that some aliens are based on racist stereotypes and that there is capacitism (discrimination against people with disabilities), like Darth Vader, in whom we see a character without limbs who is also evil. Despite the fact that reactionary values were wanted to combat in the new trilogy by including more characters of color and women, the reaction of the fans against the actors and directors shows that they want to return to the past of the saga when the white man was the protagonist.
Some will say that Star Wars has always had strong female characters, but Scientific American recalls that Leia was dressed as a sex slave in Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi – 80%. Finally, it cannot be forgotten that by using the word Jedi for causes of social justice, one can end up serving corporate interests rather than the original cause:
JEDI connects justice initiatives with business capital. JEDI / Jedi is more than a name: it is a product. Circulate the name […] it can promote and benefit the owning corporation, even if it is not our intention. In fact, we are providing that corporation, Disney, a form of free publicity, commodifying and cheapening our justice work. […] It can also serve to change and whitewash Disney by linking one of its flagship product lines to social justice. After all, Disney has a long and troubling history of circulating racist, sexist, straight, and orientalist narratives and images.
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