The United States of Anxiety-logo

The United States of Anxiety

WNYC

The United States of Anxiety is a show about the unfinished business of our history, and its grip on our future. Each week, host Kai Wright invites listeners to gather for intimate conversations and deeply reported stories about the choices we’ve made as a society -- and the new choices we can imagine now. We’re learning from our past, meeting our neighbors, and sharing the joy (and the work!) of living in a plural society. Our inbox is also open for your voice memos—send them to anxiety@wnyc.org. And you can keep up with Kai on Twitter @kai_wright. WNYC Studios is a listener-supported producer of other great podcasts including Radiolab, Death, Sex & Money, and On the Media.

The United States of Anxiety is a show about the unfinished business of our history, and its grip on our future. Each week, host Kai Wright invites listeners to gather for intimate conversations and deeply reported stories about the choices we’ve made as a society -- and the new choices we can imagine now. We’re learning from our past, meeting our neighbors, and sharing the joy (and the work!) of living in a plural society. Our inbox is also open for your voice memos—send them to anxiety@wnyc.org. And you can keep up with Kai on Twitter @kai_wright. WNYC Studios is a listener-supported producer of other great podcasts including Radiolab, Death, Sex & Money, and On the Media.

Location:

United States

Networks:

WNYC

Description:

The United States of Anxiety is a show about the unfinished business of our history, and its grip on our future. Each week, host Kai Wright invites listeners to gather for intimate conversations and deeply reported stories about the choices we’ve made as a society -- and the new choices we can imagine now. We’re learning from our past, meeting our neighbors, and sharing the joy (and the work!) of living in a plural society. Our inbox is also open for your voice memos—send them to anxiety@wnyc.org. And you can keep up with Kai on Twitter @kai_wright. WNYC Studios is a listener-supported producer of other great podcasts including Radiolab, Death, Sex & Money, and On the Media.

Language:

English


Episodes

To Protect and Observe: A History

7/26/2021
Today’s viral videos of police abuse have a long political lineage. But what if one of the oldest tools of copwatching is now taken away? Ron Wilkins takes us back to 1966, in the wake of the Watts uprising, in which he joined an early cop watch program -- one that would inspire the likes of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. Then, reporter Jenny Casas introduces us to journalists and activists who have been using police scanners for decades to peek inside the infamously closed...

Duration:00:52:05

The American Story, in Half a Year

7/19/2021
2021 began with an insurrection, and it’s remained quietly intense ever since. We open the phones for a six-month check in on the political culture of the Biden era. Kai is joined by Christina Greer, Associate Professor of Political Science at Fordham University, to unpack all that has — and hasn’t — happened this year. Did the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol really fail? What does the victory of Eric Adams in New York City say about the state of Black politics -- and the Democratic Party? And...

Duration:00:48:39

The Short Life and Early Death of Voting Rights

7/12/2021
Birth, August 1965. Death, July 2021. So now what for multiracial democracy? Mark Joseph Stern, who covers the Supreme Court for Slate, explains how the Roberts Court has rewritten the Voting Rights Act to render it a dead letter law. We explore what, if anything, can be done to revive it. And Kai talks with Vann Newkirk II, a senior editor at The Atlantic, about a recent essay in which he tracks the legacy and impact of the Voting Rights Act alongside his family’s history in Mississippi....

Duration:00:50:39

Can America Be Redeemed?

7/5/2021
Eddie Glaude and Imani Perry consider the question through the work of James Baldwin and Richard Wright. Plus: How our country could enter a period of “post-traumatic growth.” The two professors of African-American Studies at Princeton talk with each other about the impact of James Baldwin and Richard Wright’s work — on their own intellectuality and creativity, and that of the Black American zeitgeist at large and the harrowing relevance of their work as it echoes into the issues of...

Duration:00:50:59

How the Right’s Anti-Trans Hate Machine Works

6/28/2021
More than 100 anti-Trans bills have been introduced across 30 states since January. We find out what’s happening — both in the courts and in society — and what still needs to be done. Executive Producer Veralyn Williams guest-hosts this week and is joined by journalist and media-maker Imara Jones of TransLash to discuss her work to elevate Trans stories and the inner workings of what she calls in her new podcast, The Anti Trans Hate Machine. Also, Veralyn and Imara breakdown why there is a...

Duration:00:52:57

Why We Must Vote

6/21/2021
New York City faces a consequential election. We look at the history of our local election laws. Plus, the mastermind behind new voting restrictions nationally. Senior Reporter Arun Venugopal guest hosts and sits down with WNYC’s City Hall and Politics Reporter Brigid Bergin to discuss her reporting about voter turnout across New York City, the new ranked-choice voting system and how the history of the city’s political machines continue to impact the lives of New Yorkers today. Then, Ari...

Duration:00:51:10

David Dinkins vs. the NYPD

6/14/2021
How NYC’s first Black mayor tried to balance concerns about public safety with demands for a more accountable police force -- and the violent resistance he faced from the police union. Under the Dinkins administration, the crime rate declined, but his complex relationship with the New York Police Department - which grew in size under his tenure - often overshadows his legacy. As voting is underway for the 2021 mayoral race, our senior editor Christopher Werth tells the story of Dinkins’s...

Duration:00:51:15

The Dawn of ‘Anti-Racist’ America

6/7/2021
Ibram X. Kendi reflects on a shifting political culture -- and the fierce backlash against it. Plus, a remembrance of the 1921 Tulsa massacre. With five best-selling books, including How to Be an Antiracist and Four Hundred Souls, Kendi has been at the center of the nation’s racial reckoning over the past year. He talks with Kai about the ideas people have found most challenging, and about his new podcast, Be Antiracist, which launches on June 9th. Then, listeners tell us what they’ve...

Duration:00:52:11

The ‘Big Bang’ in Jazz History

5/31/2021
Jazz pianist Jason Moran brings us an exploration into the life and work of James Reese Europe and how the infamous 369th Infantry Regiment - also known as the Harlem Hellfighters - crossed racial lines and brought jazz to Europe. Joe Young of New York Public Radio talks about how using music as a service member informed his own patriotism Companion listening for this episode: Juneteenth, an Unfinished Business (June 26, 2020) As the nation grapples with a reckoning, we pause to...

Duration:01:01:14

How NYPD ‘Kettled’ the Spirit of Reform

5/24/2021
New Yorkers reacted to George Floyd’s murder with mass protests demanding police accountability. NYPD met them with targeted violence and abuse. On June 4, 2020, a few hundred people gathered in the South Bronx neighborhood of Mott Haven to protest the murder of George Floyd. They were met with overwhelming force -- in an event that has come to represent NYPD’s steadfast refusal to accept public scrutiny. WNYC’s Race and Justice Unit has been reconstructing what happened that night, from...

Duration:00:50:10

F*&% Robert Moses. Let’s Start Over

5/17/2021
We’re finally back in the streets -- but are we ready to reimagine how we share public space? This week, a trip through the century-long fight between cars, bikes, and people. Kai Wright takes us on a bike tour across Brooklyn - alongside Streetsblog New York reporter Dave Colon - to survey the ways in which inequity is built into the blacktop. Former New York City Traffic Commissioner Sam Schwartz a.k.a. Gridlock Sam shares a behind-the-scenes look at the history of the city’s streets and...

Duration:00:53:31

Ma’Khia Bryant’s Story Is Too Familiar

5/13/2021
We failed her long before the cops killed her. We’re failing thousands more children like her now. In this bonus episode, we meet one of those girls. Girls often land in detention because they have experienced some form of trauma: abusive families, bad experiences in the foster care system, and especially sexual abuse. Desiree is a young woman who has bounced between foster care, detention centers, and residential treatment centers since she was 10. Even though she has been the repeated...

Duration:00:35:02

No More ‘Selfless’ Moms

5/10/2021
Erased from history. Ignored in public policy. This Mother’s Day, we ask how to truly value “motherwork.” Plus: The story of one “woke birth.” Gates scholar and author Anna Malaika Tubbs encourages each of us to reimagine our relationships with motherhood and challenge the erasure of mothering figures - starting in the past. Her book, The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King, Jr, Malcolm X, and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation, tells the stories of the three women who birthed,...

Duration:00:52:21

The Method to Tucker Carlson’s Madness

5/3/2021
History suggests we shouldn’t laugh off what’s happening in right wing media right now. Plus, profiting off of racism is a business model as old as the news. Nicole Hemmer, an associate research scholar at Columbia University and author of Messengers of the Right: Conservative Media and the Transformation of American Politics, explains how right wing media serves -- and surrounds -- its audience. Then, Channing Gerard Joseph, a journalism professor at the University of Southern...

Duration:00:50:59

Do We Need the Police at All?

4/26/2021
The answer isn’t simple, but it’s time to ask. Listeners weigh in with stories of their own efforts to solve problems with and without cops. Community organizer and educator Lumumba Akinwole-Bandele joins callers as we reimagine a world without policing, and shares his own stories from decades of police reform activism in New York City. Plus, Dr. Jameta Nicole Barlow, a psychologist, public health scientist, and assistant professor at The George Washington University, explains...

Duration:00:51:10

Why Cops Don’t Change

4/19/2021
A retired NYPD detective says the force’s stubborn, insular culture was built to last. And Elie Mystal explains a 1989 Supreme Court ruling that made killing “reasonable.” Armed with the lessons from a 20-year-long career in law enforcement, retired NYPD Detective Marq Claxton talks about the police mindset and how a badge never shielded him from the fear that so many Black Americans carry everyday. Elie Mystal, justice correspondent at The Nation, grounds the conversation in the history...

Duration:00:52:29

Government: A Love-Hate Story

4/12/2021
How did Americans come to think so poorly of government? And how did Joe Biden come to be the first modern president who’s even tried to change our minds? Kai talks with three change-makers about the role of government in our lives. Activist Mari Copeny a.k.a. “Little Miss Flint” recounts how a letter that she sent as an elementary school student brought national attention to a public health crisis in her backyard - and inspired her to continue giving back to her community, speaking out and...

Duration:00:52:11

Desegregation By Any Means Necessary

4/5/2021
A gun-toting Black Power advocate was made principal of a Marin County, California school during efforts to desegregate 50 years ago. As they try again, we recount his radical legacy. As the Sausalito Marin City School District continues to grapple with school desegregation, Reporter Marianne McCune brings us the sequel -- and the prequel -- to “Two Schools in Marin County”. She takes us back in time to witness how one of the first communities in the country to voluntarily desegregate took...

Duration:00:56:54

How to End the Dominion of Men

3/29/2021
Andrew Cuomo’s just the latest. Why is masculinity so often conflated with domination? And how do we separate the two? Kai turns to a historian and to a novelist for answers. Linda Hirschman, author of Reckoning: The Epic Battle Against Sexual Abuse and Harassment, tells the story of how a small group of women in a room in Ithaca, New York, came up with two words that attempted to change the law, and the workplace, forever. But as you'll hear, victory really has a thousand mothers. Many of...

Duration:00:52:28

The Missing History of Asian America

3/22/2021
We’ve been here before: A time of national stress, Asian Americans made into scapegoats, and violence follows. The community saw it coming. So why didn’t everybody else? A mass shooting in Atlanta follows a year of warnings from Asian Americans who have said they do not feel safe. But the violence has forced to the surface old questions about where Asian Americans sit in our nation’s maddening racial caste system, and community leaders have struggled to get people across the political and...

Duration:00:46:45