White Social Codes

large-white-logoCould intolerance be information encrypted in people’s DNA, associated to instincts of survival? What is meant by survival in this context is not the mere concept of physical self-preservation, but the survival and endurance of culture and the diverse traditions and beliefs it contains. In order for their culture to perdure, perhaps American ancestors (much like their English ancestors) felt the need to protect it from the influence of external forces, and the best way they found to deal with these threatening forces was through the extermination of those external agents; thus securing the survival and continuance of their beliefs and traditions.

In One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, considered by critics one of the most representative works of fiction about America in the 20th century, the inmates’ personalities were rejected by society because they did not conform to the social norms or set of sociocultural “white” codes that were considered “normal” at the time. The concept of normality is usually characterized by a set of rules or customs dictated by what the majority, in this case in a white dominant society, considered to be customary or regular. Big Nurse represented that white majority who did not want to grant the inmates their right to having an identity of their own; thus portraying the ever-recurrent theme of intolerance.

Big Nurse, one of the main characters, attempts to obliterate her patients’ identity and personality, she does this by changing McMurphy’s name intentionally, although it does not work, given that he is a strong, cunning and combative adversary. Another attempt by Big Nurse at undermining the characters’ personality and identity is represented by the overt insinuations of her being the embodiment of emasculation itself. The members of the minority groups and subcultures that fail to adhere to the customs deemed by the dominant white race might end up castrated.