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essay investigating the etymology and impact of one specific slur

The assignment:

Etymology is “the study of the origin of words and the way in which their meanings have changed throughout history” (google).  You will write an essay investigating the etymology and impact of one specific slur. You must identify the term and provide a dictionary definition along with any other definitions you wish to include. You must incorporate at least 3 sources (with a Works Cited list) and use a minimum of five quotes/paraphrases to support your ideas in your essay.  There are sources in the module you can use.

Your Writing Task:

Focus on one specific slur word used in modern U.S. culture. In your essay, analyze how and why the slur is used as you evaluate whether or not it is always offensive, depending on the context in which it is used.  Make it clear in your thesis, topic sentences, and your essay overall what YOUR position is on the slur’s use (is it always offensive, offensive in specific contexts or when used by certain people, reappropriated in certain settings, etc).  Be sure to discuss the history/origin of the term (etymology) and analyze the intent and impact/consequences of using the slur in different contexts.

Things to consider:  Analyze why the slur is an insult – that is, is it linked to prejudice against a specific group?  Use one or two extended examples to illustrate how and why the slur is used and its impact (either from your own experience, or from well-publicized incidents of people using the slur).  Since a slur word is sometimes used positively by people within a group, but negatively by those outside the group, consider various contexts (with friends, with those of the same group, by those outside the group, etc) in which your slur word is used (perhaps for different purposes and with different impacts). Focus on ONE context per body paragraph.