Seth Barrett Tillman, Lecturer
Maynooth University Department of Law
September 24, 2021
Letters to the Editor
1 New York Plaza
New York, NY 10004
RE: J. W. Hammond and others, ‘Why the Term ‘JEDI’ Is Problematic for Describing Programs That Promote Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion,’ Scientific American (Sept. 23, 2021), <https://tinyurl.com/m8mfy972>.
Hammond and others wrote: “What’s more, the bodies and voices centered in Star Wars have, with few exceptions, historically been those of white men.” (emphasis added) The most iconic voice from Star Wars was undoubtedly that of Darth Vader, and Vader was voiced by James Earl Jones. Everyone knows this. Indeed, when people do Star Wars impressions, almost invariably, they turn to Yoda (who was a green alien) and Darth Vader (voiced by a black actor). Everyone knows this too. Hammond and his co-authors are whiting-out (no pun intended) accomplished and loved actors.
Hammond and others assert that: the “‘Slave Leia’ costume [was] infamous for stripping down and chaining up the movie series’ first leading woman as part of an Orientalist subplot.” “Infamous”? Their only evidence for this understanding of the Princess Leia-Jabba the Hutt sequence is … a link to a book suggesting that this sequence “might” be an “orientalist trope.” Their shift from “might” to “infamous” indicates that their argument lacks any established support in the literature.
What Hammond and others’ article shows is that a professional class in search of societal wrongs lacks real, actual (in this galaxy) targets for their ire, and now they must destroy children’s fantasy, theatre, and movies—and their creators. I would give your authors credit, if their views were original. But this was all done years ago, by those who objected to Tolkien’s orcs as embracing racial tropes.
Seth Barrett Tillman, Letter to the Editor, Responding to ‘Why the Term “JEDI” Is Problematic for Describing Programs That Promote Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion’ in Scientific American, New Reform Club (Sept. 24, 2021, 8:02 AM), <https://reformclub.blogspot.com/2021/09/letter-to-editor-responding-to-why-term.html>;