Definition of try for white in English:

try for white

phrase

South African
historical
  • (under the apartheid system) attempt to pass oneself off as a white person by assimilating oneself into a white community.

    ‘he tried for white but was rejected and took on an African identity’
    • ‘She takes the audience on a sweeping journey from their childhood when they 'tried for white' by playing with white kids on the beach, to helping Patty confront the sacrifices she would have to make to be with the man she loved.’
    • ‘It started in the 1960s and spilt over into the 1970s, a time when white-skinned people ‘of mixed descent’ consciously tried for white to acquire a privileged position in South African society.’
    • ‘He recalled that when he went off to college he "tried for white," aping the manners and attitudes of the English and Afrikaners; rejected, he turned instead to the solace of black consciousness.’