Originally used under colonialism and before civil rights, this phrase expressed appreciation for honorable or gracious behavior, under the assumption that white people were inherently more virtuous. Today, it is generally used sarcastically in reference to underwhelming acts of generosity.
In Jamaica in 1765:
A: I built the slaves a church to hang out in on Sundays, even though I didn't have to.
B: Well, that's mighty white of you.
In Harlem in 2010:
A: I'm feeling so generous, I'm gonna eat my food right next to you so you can enjoy the smell.
B: Well God damn, that's mighty white of you - How could I ever repay you for such a selfless act?
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