African-American expressions from August Wilson

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Sun Dec 23 00:08:08 UTC 2012

On Thu, Dec 20, 2012 at 6:52 PM, Dan Goncharoff <thegonch at> wrote:
> "Closeness" doesn't seem relevant.

"Closeness" in the sense that "white" is so close to "rice" that the
former can't be separated from the latter. It's the whole point of the
expression. Rice can't get away from white, because white is all over
rice like, well, white on rice.

BTW, does this discussion mean that it's the case that "like white on
rice" is *not* standard American English? If it does mean that, then I
haven't been so surprised since I found out, back in 1960, that "fuck
over (someone)" wasn't a casual obscenity known to every red-blooded
American male and not just to the black ones.

As it happens, even today, I've seen only a single, documented
instance of "fuck over somebody" - as opposed to "fuck somebody over"
- used by a white person.

FWIW, IME, "white" in this expression has nothing whatsoever to do
with any aspect of race. If you can't make a rhyme, then assonance
will just have to do.

All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint
to come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
-Mark Twain

The American Dialect Society -

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