The video, which I’ve seen before and we may have talked about, exhibits a basic misunderstanding of what constitutes a slur. And it’s dead wrong on peanut gallery and hip hip hooray. Those are not the least bit racist either in their origin or history of use.
And I would add the term cotton-picking to the list, since a US TV journalist got in hot water for using the term this past week. (It’s on the Big List, but I need to update it.)
Just as a word’s origin does not determine it’s meaning, it also does not determine whether or not it is a slur in current usage. What determines whether or not a term is racist is 1) the intent of the speaker, and 2) how the listener receives it. In cases where a phrase is widely understood to give offense, #1 doesn’t matter. The speaker should know better. Likewise, just because an individual or small group decides to take offense at a certain term doesn’t make it racist; it must be widely understood as giving offense. This last is what’s going on with peanut gallery and hip hip hooray.
A word like gypsy has a problematic origin and history of derogatory uses, and the verb to gyp is widely understood to derive from it. So it’s difficult for a speaker to claim they didn’t intend offense when it is taken. And the Romani do take offense at its use. So it’s definitely a racist term.
Phrases like no can do or long time no see have racist origins, but they’ve long been divorced from those. There is no history, at least in recent years, of these being used or understood as a racial slur. Now, if a white person squinted and said no can do in a faux Asian accent, that would absolutely be racist. But someone just using the phrase in casual conversation, divorced from any racial context is not engaging in any form of racism.
Phrases like sell down the river or cotton-picking are widely understood to have racial implications in both origin and use over the years. So their use is at best problematic, and when directed at a black person is unequivocally racist.
But another term, grandfather clause, which has its origins in Jim Crow laws that disenfranchised blacks because the law said that in order to vote one’s grandfather must have had the right to vote, is perceived by virtually no one as racist. It has its origin in a racist practice, but its history of use and its reception over the years makes it acceptable to use in pretty much any situation.