According to Variety, Star Wars actress Kelly Marie Tran wrote an op-ed in The New York Times on Tuesday detailing and explaining her recent decision to stay off social media after months of online harassment.
Tran first deleted all of her Instagram posts back in June after receiving a swath of racist and sexist abuse online for her lead role as Rose Tico in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
In her New York Times op-ed, Tran, a woman of color, wrote, “It wasn’t their words, it’s that I started to believe them.”
“Their words seemed to confirm what growing up as a woman and a person of color already taught me,” she continued, “that I belonged in margins and spaces, valid only as a minor character in their lives and stories.”
Tran detailed that the constant harassment she faced via social media made her feel not only “less than,” but also unwelcome. “Their words reinforced a narrative I had heard my whole life: that I was ‘other,’ that I didn’t belong, that I wasn’t good enough, simply because I wasn’t like them,” she said.
“And that feeling, I realize now, was, and is, shame, a shame for the things that made me different, a shame for the culture from which I came from. And to me,” Tran added, “the most disappointing thing was that I felt it at all.”
The American born daughter of Vietnamese immigrants, Tran grew up feeling “other” her entire childhood and adult life. Now, a successful actress with a platform of her own, she wants other people of color and women to grow up in a more accepting environment.
“I want to live in a world where children of color don’t spend their entire adolescence wishing to be white. I want to live in a world where women are not subjected to scrutiny for their appearance, or their actions, or their general existence,” Tran wrote.
— Star Wars Facts (@SWTweets) June 5, 2018
“I want to live in a world where people of all races, religions, socioeconomic classes, sexual orientations, gender identities and abilities are seen as what they have always been: human beings.”
Turning a new corner, Tran ended her article with a reaffirmation of who she truly is. “You might know me as Kelly,” she said. “I am the first woman of color to have a leading role in a ‘Star Wars’ movie. I am the first Asian woman to appear on the cover of Vanity Fair. My real name is Loan. And I am just getting started.”