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Play the white man

Play the white man is a phrase used in parts of Britain meaning to be decent and trustworthy in one's actions. [1] A similar American expression is That's mighty white of you, with the meaning of "thank you for being fair". The phrase is commonly used by natives of the Yorkshire and the Humber region. [2]

The origin of the phrase is obscure. The colour white has long been associated with purity and virtue in English culture, but the racial sense of the expression may refer more explicitly to the administrators and soldiers of the 18th, 19th and 20th-century British Empire.

See also


  1. ^ "Complaint made over Mayor of Erewash's 'racist comment' at council meeting". Nottingham Post. Retrieved 14 November 2018.
  2. ^ Smitherman, G (2006). Words and Expressions, Proverbs and Familiar Sayings. Word from the mother (pp. 45). Routledge: New York.

External links

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