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

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

Collective Loss, Collective Care

3/15/2021
More than half a million Americans - our family, friends, neighbors, loved ones - have lost their lives to the virus over the past year and our collective grief continues to compound, but communities have come together in remarkable ways to take care of themselves. Grammy-winning singer and songwriter Gregory Porter checks in with us on the first anniversary of the Covid-19 pandemic to talk about grieving his brother lost to the virus, the power of community, and finding encouragement...

Duration:00:49:45

Capitalism vs. Time

3/8/2021
As Amazon workers conclude a historic unionization drive, we consider the history of collective action -- and the struggle to shield our humanity from the demands of productivity. Labor journalist and Type Media Center reporting fellow Sarah Jaffe breaks down the history of workplace organizing at Amazon and in the Black South. And she talks about her new book, “Work Won’t Love You Back: How Devotion to Our Jobs Keeps Us Exploited, Exhausted, and Alone,” as listeners chime in about their...

Duration:00:52:42

Actor Daniel Kaluuya’s Road to Revolutionary

3/4/2021
On December 4th of 1969, Fred Hampton -- the 21-year-old chairman of the Illinois Black Panther Party -- was shot dead in his sleep during a raid by Chicago police, but decades of investigation into his death revealed an even more insidious plot. Actor Daniel Kaluuya -- known for his roles in Get Out and Queen & Slim -- portrays Hampton in the new film, Judas and the Black Messiah, which follows Hampton’s meteoric rise through the party, a multiracial class movement and the series of...

Duration:00:17:59

The Secret Tapes of a Suburban Drug War

3/1/2021
A cop in Westchester, NY, was disturbed by what he saw as corruption. He started recording his colleagues -- and revealed how we’re all still living with the excess of the war on drugs. Following months of investigation into allegations of police corruption in Mount Vernon, reporter George Joseph of WNYC’s Race & Justice Unit brings us a story about unchecked power, policing in communities of color and our long national hangover from the war on drugs. Part of George Joseph’s story, “The...

Duration:00:51:16

Blackness (Un)interrupted

2/22/2021
Our Future of Black History series concludes with conversations about self-expression. Because when you carry a collective history in your identity, it can be hard to find yourself. We reflect on the life, language and legacy of renowned writer Zora Neale Hurston with Bernice McFadden, a novelist and contributor to the new anthology, Four Hundred Souls: A Community History Of African America, 1619-2019. Producer Veralyn Williams then brings us a story about a deep division that continues...

Duration:00:52:51

The Case Against Those ‘Tubman $20s’

2/18/2021
People are excited to replace Andrew Jackson’s face with an abolitionist hero. But Dr. Brittney Cooper argues not all honorifics are the same. The Biden Treasury Department has announced that efforts to put abolitionist Harriet Tubman’s portrait -- in place of President Andrew Jackson -- on the face of the twenty dollar bill will resume. It represents an effort to celebrate her and “reflect the history and diversity of our country,” but some believe that this would do more harm than...

Duration:00:15:25

Impeachment: Catharsis and Impunity

2/15/2021
The Senate’s trial and acquittal of Donald Trump left many with mixed emotions. But did it move us any closer to a reckoning with the worst of America’s political culture? Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David Blight returns to the show to help Kai put the trial in historical context. Blight has warned that the former president is trying to create a Confederate-style Lost Cause mythology. So where’s that project stand now? Then WNYC’s Brian Lehrer and The Nation’s Elie Mystal join Kai as...

Duration:00:51:31

The ‘Beautiful Experiments’ Left Out of Black History

2/8/2021
Cultural historian Saidiya Hartman introduces Kai to the young women whose radical lives were obscured by respectability politics, in the second installment of our Future of Black History series. The MacArthur fellow is the author of “Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Riotous Black Girls, Troublesome Women, and Queer Radicals,” which offers an intimate look into some of the Black lives that have been seemingly erased from the history books -- simply for not fitting...

Duration:00:51:12

The Origin Story of Black History Month

2/1/2021
We’ve got complicated relationships with this annual celebration -- from joy to frustration. So to launch our Future of Black History series, we ask how it began and what it can be. Producer Veralyn Williams invites us into a lively conversation about her annual Black History Month parties -- before COVID-19 social distancing was imposed -- with some friends of the show. Then, Dr. Pero Dagbovie, a University Distinguished Professor in the Department of History and an Associate Dean in the...

Duration:00:48:35

New Hopes, Old Fears

1/25/2021
Kai checks in with poet Jericho Brown, historian Kidada Williams, and listeners as we all try to transition out of the Trump presidency. Jericho Brown, recipient of the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for poetry, reads his new work ‘Inaugural,’ and reflects upon the power of our words - political rhetoric and prose alike - to strengthen communities. Professor and historian Dr. Kidada E. Williams reflects on the relationship between justice, history and why we must make space for uncomfortable truths...

Duration:00:49:21

Life After Fascism: A Brief History

1/21/2021
Historian Timothy Snyder offers lessons on what could happen if those who enabled the attack on our democracy don’t face consequences. President Biden was just inaugurated and many Americans are eager to turn the page into a new era. But many are still processing the January 7th U.S. Capitol riot. In this segment from our colleagues at The Brian Lehrer Show, Timothy Snyder, professor of history at Yale University and a permanent fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna, offers...

Duration:00:15:38

How Martin Luther King, Jr., Changed American Christianity

1/18/2021
And what MLK’s uniquely Black theology can teach us about the relationship between faith and politics in 2021. Rev. Dr. Yolanda Pierce, dean of the Howard University School of Divinity and author of the forthcoming book “In My Grandmother's House: Black Women, Faith, and the Stories We Inherit,” walks Kai through the history of the Black Church and Dr. King’s place in its evolution. And Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis, senior minister of Middle Collegiate Church, explains how her own ministry --...

Duration:00:52:20

The American Story, in a Single Day

1/11/2021
January 6, 2021, offered a hyper-condensed version of our country’s entire political history--with all of its complexity, inspiration, and terror. In a special national radio broadcast of our show, we walk through a day that began with the historic election of a Black man and ended with a horrifying insurrection led by white nationalists. Newly elected Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) explains why he’s introduced a bill to investigate white nationalists’ infiltration of the Capitol Police. And Kai...

Duration:00:52:29

The (Un)Making of a ‘Model Minority’

1/4/2021
An odd racial pecking order puts Indian Americans in a curious place -- outside of whiteness, but distinct from other people of color. How’d that come to be? And is it changing? We explore these questions by revisiting a story from Arun Venugopal, senior reporter with WNYC’s Race & Justice Unit, about how a Kansan community grappled with one of the first widely reported hate crimes following the 2016 election. Then he joins us to check in on that community today and walk through the history...

Duration:00:53:49

Lessons From a Year in Isolation

12/28/2020
A first draft of history for 2020, told through three very personal efforts to find -- and keep -- human connection amid a pandemic. We hear from 13-year-old Adiva Kaisary about how 2020 has complicated her relationships with her school friends and new neighborhood. Producer Veralyn Williams brings us a story from WNYC’s own reporter Cindy Rodriguez who faced COVID-19 head-on this year - while living alone as so many have. Finally, reporter Jenny Casas checks in with Chicagoan Niky...

Duration:00:49:42

The Racist History of Georgia’s Runoff

12/21/2020
Segregationists gamed the system 57 years ago. But this year, Black organizers may have finally slipped the knot that Jim Crow tied around democracy in the state. Ari Berman, senior reporter at Mother Jones and author of “Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America” (2016), joins us to explain the history of runoff elections in Georgia -- and to talk about what might have changed in 2020. We also talk to Nsé Ufot, the CEO of The New Georgia Project, about the...

Duration:00:50:25