The popularity of ChatGPT, the artificial-intelligence platform launched by OpenAI recently, marks perhaps a new milestone in an AI era. When such an era comes, artificial intelligence is so easy to practise and produce artificial information that may lead or mislead human conversations in a good or bad temper. It also becomes so difficult to present and preserve natural truths that sometimes are covered or uncovered in the human history. Human being should not keep silence. Here comes the Voices and Bridges.
Welcome to Voices and Bridges, a website that aims to amplify the voices of Chinese Canadians and build bridges of communication and connection across cultures. Our mission is to provide a platform for Chinese Canadians to share their diverse perspectives and experiences with the wider community. Through our website, we strive to foster mutual understanding and respect between Chinese Canadians and their fellow Canadians, and to promote dialogue and engagement on issues of importance to the Chinese Canadian community and to the entire society.
The Chinese Canadian community has a long and complex history in Canada, dating back to the late 19th century. From the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway to the head tax and the Chinese Exclusion Act, Chinese Canadians have faced discrimination and marginalization throughout their history in Canada. Despite this, the community has persevered and made significant contributions to Canadian society.
As the Chinese Canadian community continues to grow and evolve, it is more important than ever to create spaces where its members can express themselves and be heard. Unfortunately, the experiences of Chinese Canadians have not always been well-understood or well-represented in mainstream media and public discourse. This can lead to stereotypes, misconceptions, and even prejudice against Chinese Canadians based on artificial information and misinformation generated by AI technology, Sinophobia psychology or a mix.
One common misconception is that all Chinese Canadians are the same, with the same cultural values and experiences. In reality, the Chinese Canadian community is diverse, with members who come from different regions of China, speak different dialects, and have different religious and cultural backgrounds. This stereotype ignores the complexity and diversity of the community. For example, Chinese Canadians from places like Southeast Asian or South American have a different history and cultural background compared to those from mainland China. Similarly, Chinese Canadians who came from mainland China over different centuries have distinct memories and connections of their home towns. Furthermore, Chinese Canadians who are Christians have different cultural practices and beliefs compared to those who practice Buddhism, Taoism, or Confucianism.
Another stereotype that has been perpetuated is that Chinese Canadians are not loyal to Canada and are influenced and controlled by China. This has been fueled by accusations of foreign interference in Canadian politics, as well as negative media portrayals of Chinese Canadians. This stereotype is harmful and offensive to Chinese Canadians who are proud Canadians and have contributed to Canadian society in numerous ways. In fact, Chinese Canadians have made significant contributions to Canadian culture, politics, and economy. Chinese Canadians have excelled in various fields, including business, science, medicine, technology, and the arts.
Chinese Canadians are often seen as “model minorities,” with such a stereotype that they are successful and hardworking due to their cultural values. However, this stereotype ignores the systemic barriers that many Chinese Canadians face, as well as the diversity of experiences within the community. It also places undue pressure on Chinese Canadians to achieve academic and financial success, which can lead to mental health issues and burnout.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been instances of blaming Chinese Canadians for the spread of the virus. This has led to discrimination and racism towards Chinese Canadians, as well as a generalization that all Chinese people are responsible for the pandemic. This is a dangerous and unfounded stereotype that can lead to xenophobia and discrimination. Chinese Canadians have been subjected to racist attacks and verbal abuse, and some have been afraid to leave their homes or speak out against racism.
These examples of misinformation and stereotypes are just a tip of the iceberg but still highlight the need for platforms like Voices and Bridges that provide a space for Chinese Canadians to share their experiences and challenge harmful narratives. By amplifying the voices of Chinese Canadians, we can work towards a more accurate and empathetic understanding of the community, and promote dialogue and engagement that builds bridges across cultures.
At Voices and Bridges, we are committed to challenging stereotypes and promoting a more inclusive and harmonious society. We believe that dialogue and engagement are key to promoting mutual understanding and respect, and to building a better future for all. We welcome contributions from all members of the Chinese Canadian community, and we hope that you will join us in shaping the conversation and creating a better future for our community and for Canada.
As American editor William Allen White put, “The facts fairly and honestly presented; truth will take care of itself.” Still true even if in an AI era.
(By Ban Zhang, Vancouver-based Writer)