Pima Community College language guide says terms like ‘peanut gallery,’ ‘tipping point,’ and ‘whitelist’ have ‘racist roots’

A Pima Community College library guide says that phrases used in everyday life have “racist roots.”

A Pima Community College library guide says that phrases used in everyday life have “racist roots.”

The “Anti-racist language guide” at the Pima Community College Library was created in Spring 2024, according to the webpage, which lists a variety of words that are deemed racist.

According to the webpage, the anti-racist language guide is intended “to help us communicate in a way that validates our audience, is respectful, and helps us recognize and replace harmful language.”

The language guide is intended for staff at the library when writing website content, writing an email, making a presentation, and when communicating with others.

One of the phrases in the guide is “whitelist,” which is considered racist because of its “association of the color black with negative and white with positive reflects negative stereotypes.”

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Hold down the fort, for example, “stems from settlers in North America building forts and guarding them against Native American intruders,” the anti-racist language guide contends.

The phrase “peanut gallery” is also deemed racist by the language guide, which states it “was an area in the theater with the cheapest seats and reserved mostly for Black people and less affluent immigrants.”

“Tipping point,” according to the language guide, is racist because “the term became synonymous with white flight” in the 20th century.

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Similar to “whitelist,” the phrase “blacklist” is also considered racist because “the association of the color black with negative, evil, wrong, or bad carries racist undertones. Associating the term black with bad can be harmful.”