The power of fiction

The Bangladeshi community of Brick Lane held a protest against the proposed film adaption of the award-winning novel named after their community. They object to the stereotyping of their community and believe the film will reinforce this. Plans to film scenes of the film in Brick Lane have been dropped because of the local opposition. Mass media representation of the Ulster conflict has often been accused of the same. How much do fictional representations determine external perceptions of communities and issues?

  • In this particular case possibly a great deal or at least that is the community’s perception of it. But then if I was a member of a community that is also a religious community, and therefore connected in some way to say Iran, where 16 year old women get executed (hanged) allegedly for “crimes against chastity”, I’d be sensitive also. After all who wants the world to know that you are part of a totalitatian, fascist movement hiding behind a cloak of religion; and I think we Irish might know something of that situation.

  • Abdul-Rahim

    I absolutley loved Brick Lane. It did NOT misrepresent the community, at least if it did it wasn’t in a negative way. The characters in Brick Lane do have their own opinions, but the negative comments about the British Asian youth and the Sylheti community are never validated, in fact they are spouted by the character with the least editorial credibility. THis is the story of a woman, and her interactions with a community. You can’t expect Monica Ali to whitewash over any possible negative aspect of the Brick Lane community. And in terms of some sort of bad representation of Bangladeshi culture, I don’t think that it was bad at all. Nazneen’s view of Islam is heavily incluenced by her culture creating a religious practice that is not really Orthodox, but I don’t htink even that is a negative or untrue portrayal. All and all, this is complete stupidness, and as radio piece after radio piece has shown (such as the Sonia Deol show and Adil Ray show on the BBC Asian Network) the majority of those complaining have merely heard RUMOURS about the book, not actually read it, or read all of it.