In June, Stars Wars breakout star Kelly Marie Tran deleted all of her Instagram posts after the series’ fans harassed her online. In a new essay for the New York Times, Tran addresses the racism directed toward her and her Asian character, Rose Tico. “[The fans’] words seemed to confirm what growing up as a woman and a person of color already taught me: that I belonged in margins and spaces, valid only as a minor character in their lives and stories. And those words awakened something deep inside me — a feeling I thought I had grown out of,” Tran writes. The online harassment was similar to the racism she experienced growing up as an Asian-American girl and feeling erased by her community and pop culture.
Tran’s Instagram is still cleared of any images, but, as she writes for the Times, she won’t be bullied into silence. “I know that I now belong to a small group of privileged people who get to tell stories for a living, stories that are heard and seen and digested by a world that for so long has tasted only one thing,” she wrote, reintroducing herself with her real name, Loan. “I know how important that is. And I am not giving up.”