Today, the term “peanut gallery” refers to people giving unsolicited advice, but the expression has a far more offensive history. In the nineteenth century, vaudeville actors performed in a theater with seats assigned by social class. Many of these theaters discriminated against blacks by forcing them to sit in the cheapest seats — the upper balcony.
Your article was well written. I especially appreciated your emphasis on terms that many people (including me) were unaware of. I had no idea about the dark history of the term “peanut gallery”. Our language carries our biases with us.
I also agree with those who consider the word “thug” a racist term. It refers to criminality that is assumed and not confirmed. That is a dangerous dynamic where we judge those we do not know. It’s true that I rarely find white men being called thugs.
I have another one to add: Gang Member.
While it is true that gangs exist, the term Gang Member has been used to describe those with no affiliation to organized crime. Crimes are often characterized as gang-related simply because the people involved in the alleged crime are black, latin-x, or asian, coming from low-income neighborhoods. Similar to the word, Thug, it has been used to negatively characterize an individual without knowing the facts of the case.