Friday, February 29, 2008

KRS One and Stop the Violence in New Orleans

KRS One visits a "camp site" in New Orleans as part of Stop the Violence's campaign to get the Hip Hop community involved in addressing global violence through education, critical dialogue, grassroots organizing and direct action. I've always had mixed feelings about KRS One's activism: is it genuine, does he really understand the complexities of these situations, what is he doing to create change and not just bring these issues to light. However, this video is really telling of the complex issues in New Orleans where there's no one group of people to blame - rather a complex system of governmental failures, issues of poverty and gentrification, land use, and natural disaster response.

Seeing this video reminded me of TED talk that I've been reading about from Philip Zimbardo (known for theStandford prison experiment) about his book The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil (here's a nice interview from Wired). When people are put under intense pressure to survive or do their jobs, there are horrific things they'll do. While the scene with KRS One handing out money is a smaller contained example, this isn't something people would do normally but they're put in position where they're broke, homeless, hopeless, living in a city with a blind government and there's a guy handing out 20 dollar bills. What would you do?


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