Kelly Marie Tran, breakout star of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” erased her Instagram account in June due to months of online bullying. But then something unexpected happened. Something good.
— Roger Cheng (@RogerWCheng) July 21, 2018
The Nerds of Color, an editorial website, organized a #RallyForRose at San Diego Comic Con. Women showed up dressed as Tran’s Star Wars character, Rose Tico, while others wore Obama-inspired campaign shirts in support of her.
While Tran has remained silent so far, the rally has drawn attention from many, including Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill.
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) July 22, 2018
The rally is especially relevant in light of similarly related events, including the firing of Roseanne from her revived show and the firing of James Gunn from the forthcoming “Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 3.”
While it is true that Roseanne and James Gunn were fired for their own words, there’s an inverse parallel to Tran’s situation, including distinctions between Roseanne’s and James Gunn’s firing. The respective firings do not share the same equity, as evidenced by Roseanne’s tweet:
I’m disgusted to read all of the support for James Gunn’s pedophile jokes-as the same people supported blacklisting me for a joke they didn’t even understand.
— Roseanne Barr (@therealroseanne) July 24, 2018
But Roseanne misses the point when she claims that many are in support of Gunn’s tasteless jokes. Rather, the many are in support of James Gunn, the person. When the person is considered, it’s a bit more obvious why Roseanne’s firing seemed to be applauded while Gunn’s firing was met with anger, confusion, and a petition to re-hire him:
— Variety (@Variety) July 24, 2018
The disparity in public reaction to Roseanne and Gunn are about the specific person’s character, not just the words said. When the character of a person isn’t considered, it minimizes the individual down to their words, and action is taken based on them.
People should be held accountable for words they speak, but the inability to recognize the totality of a person is dehumanizing. Online bullies refused to see Tran as a person and only saw her as a character they deemed unnecessary.
This is why #RallyForRose stands out because people decided to show up in real life, dressed as a character they could relate to. A character that reflected not only their ethnicity or race, but their own humanity.
— The Nerds of Color (@TheNerdsofColor) July 21, 2018
Hateful words may have been thrown around cheaply at Tran’s expense, but the actions of those who participated in #RallyForRose have shown us a better way to deal with them. It’s by putting Rose Tico’s own profound words into practice:
“That’s how we’re gonna win. Not fighting what we hate, but saving what we love.”
What's Your Reaction?
Written in VA. An MFA graduate in Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia.