Masquerading and Other Ethical Challenges

The anonymity, mobility and virtual nature of online communication and the real possibilities of being sexually harassed and cyber-bullied in the Net have fostered the practice of masquerading. Some masquerade though to explore other personas which are part of a person’s aspirational self (Gallares). As theological ethicists, we ask, when is masquerading justifiable—an expression of prudence or even astuteness (i.e., being cyber-smart) in the cyberhighway or a way to subversively transgress patriarchal boundaries (Abraham)? When is it a form of deception or due to a lack of courage to show our true (gender, ethnic, sexual) identities (Yap)?

In a number of call centers in the Philippines and India, companies require their workers to masquerade to avoid racist/ethnocentric remarks from Western clients or negative remarks from those clients who think outsourcing is taking away jobs from their citizens. From one postcolonial standpoint, a job that is hinged on performing or talking like a US American is racist because it is based on cultural erasure which constitutes a re-colonial oppression. From another postcolonial perspective, this can be viewed as mimicry, a case of reversing the gaze, with the South now constructing the North, which in itself is an act of resistance (Villagonzalo).

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