I have to say, I approach this week's theme with a mix of interest and caution. There are so many people to whom it is more important to defend word usage than to care about other people's feelings, and I don't understand it. There are so many words in the English language, it's not difficult at all to come up with alternatives when someone is hurt by specific terms. It is far worse to be hurt than it is to think twice before speaking.

Yes, it's interesting to discuss words, see where they came from, note that they had completely different meanings once, but it has its place (such as this forum!), and I see no reason to use these words in daily speech. I teach middle school, and we frequently have the discussion in class about what words are acceptable, and bottom line is the classroom is supposed to be a safe space for everyone, and everyone needs to participate in making it so - and that includes me not setting a bad example outside of the classroom. Not everyone has the luxury of "choosing" when to be offended. A bullied student doesn't "choose" to react with fear and anxiety when they hear the same word that has been used to bully them from an adult (or a fellow student) with "good intentions" and knowledge of etymology. (I'm a lesbian, and I remember what that was like; there are still words that get to me when used in certain contexts and by certain people). I never wanna be that person if I can help it, not to my students and not to the people of all ages around me.