Recorded at Tiger Bay’s 40th Anniversary event, St. Pete Catalyst publisher Joe Hamilton talks race and diversity with Mitch Landrieu, Mayor of New Orleans (2010-2018). Click play to hear the discussion.
In this thoughtful dialogue, Landrieu rejects the assumption that the future of diversity is pre-determined. Instead, he argues that the very premise of diversity as a national strength is under fire.
According to Landrieu, the election of President Trump, the Charleston shooting and the killing in Charlottesville point to the “relitigation” of the diversity issue and the national exclusion of people of color. Landrieu argues that we as a nation must reject the attempt to separate us based on our differences and affirm our national motto, e pluribus unum, “out of many we are one.”
Landrieu sees this moment in the body politic as significant because, despite the seeds planted by Richard Nixon’s Southern Strategy, before the election of Donald Trump, the United States had not yet seen what he calls the “minority voice of exclusion in the White House.”
In the center of what he calls a “clap back moment,” Landrieu argues that the “two steps forward, one step back” pattern of forward progress cannot be taken for granted, and that we as a country have to fight to for progress by actively rejecting white supremacy, autocracy, and fascism: “Freedom requires vigilance,” Landrieu says.