Can You Tell Which Everyday Expression Has A Racist Past?

Which of these idioms and words have racially uncomfortable histories? Some of them may surprise you.

Most of these sound innocuous. Some of them sound way worse than they actually are. While you’re not automatically a contemptible racialist if you don’t know their origins, it never hurts to know, does it?

Can you guess which of these common sayings have racially awkward beginnings?

  1. 1. "Shanghaied"

    “To be frauded into doing something.” Was this term originally racist?

    1. Yes
    2. No
  2. 2. "Bugger"

    “A sodomite; a contemptible person.” Does this slang have racist origins?

    1. Yep
    2. Nope
  3. 3. "Indian Giver"

    “One who gives something to another and then takes or demands the gift back.” Does this saying have racist origins?

    1. Sure does
    2. Nope
  4. 4. "Call a spade a spade"

    “to speak honestly, especially on embarrassing topics.” Does this saying have racist origins?

    1. Yes
    2. No
  5. 5. "Mongoloid"

    “Of or relating to Asians, Native Americans, and Pacific Aboriginals, and people with Down’s Syndrom.” Does this term have racist origins?

    1. Yes
    2. No.
  6. 6. "Gypped"

    “To cheat, swindle.”

    1. Racially awkward
    2. Totally cool
  7. 7. "Hooligan"

    “Lawless young broheim.”

    1. Racially awkward
    2. Nah, brah
  8. 8. "Peanut gallery"

    “A group of hecklers who shout insignificant and annoying criticism.” Does this saying have racist origins?

    1. Yes
    2. No
  9. 9. "Uppity"

    “Taking liberties or assuming airs beyond one’s station.” Does this word have a racially uncomfortable history?

    1. Yes
    2. No
    1. Totes racially awk
    2. Nah
  10. 11. "Nanban" (style of cooking)

    “A style of pickling and/or frying in Japanese Cuisine.”

    1. Hella racist
    2. Not racist
  11. 12. "Tomfoolery"

    “Silly or foolish behavior; a pet phrase of everyone in ‘Leave It To Beaver’.”

    1. Racially awk
    2. Nope

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