The Reclamation and Commodification of the N-word


Julius Freeman
Marcus Brooks
Marcus Brooks


By Julius Freeman, Psychology and Communication; Marcus Brooks, University of Cincinnati

Advisor: Marcus Brooks

Abstract: This research project is an in-depth look at the N-word and why it is so controversial in our society. There is a gap of knowledge in how the N-word became such unique colloquialism in American society and how it became micro representation of the macro discussion about race. The perspective of this project is that the word reclaimed by African Americans after it had been used to oppress for centuries. During that reclamation the word became significant part of hip-hop/ rap culture and by the astronomical spread of hip-hop, now being the number one genre in America, the word is now inextricably linked to the American mind and vernacular. The spread of the n-word into communities that may not know the full context came through free market of capitalism, more specifically a concept called capitalist recuperation. There are few questions being answered in this research project, which are about when did the reclamation of the n-word happen, was there a moment or person that embodied that reclamation, and how the n-word became a significant phenomenon in popular culture. This research will go further than this project but this is to establish a foundation and understanding how then-word gained itÕs fame.


Classic Podium (9:45-11:45 AM)