United States of Anxiety The United States of Anxiety is a show about the unfinished business of our history and its grip on our future. Many of the political and social arguments we're having now started in the aftermath of the Civil War, when Americans set out to do something no one had tried before: build the world's first multiracial democracy. The podcast gives voters the context to understand what's at stake in this election. WNYC Studios is a listener-supported producer of other great podcasts including Radiolab, Death, Sex & Money, and On the Media.
United States of Anxiety

United States of Anxiety

From WQXR Radio

The United States of Anxiety is a show about the unfinished business of our history and its grip on our future. Many of the political and social arguments we're having now started in the aftermath of the Civil War, when Americans set out to do something no one had tried before: build the world's first multiracial democracy. The podcast gives voters the context to understand what's at stake in this election. WNYC Studios is a listener-supported producer of other great podcasts including Radiolab, Death, Sex & Money, and On the Media.

Most Recent Episodes

A History of Voter Suppression

As recent voting rights legislation struggles to even get a vote in the Senate, we revisit a conversation with historian Dr. Carol Anderson about how American voters, particularly Black Americans, had fought and continue to fight for their right to participate in the democratic process - safely and with certainty that their votes will count. Dr. Anderson is a Charles Howard Candler Professor of African American Studies at Emory University and author of several books including "White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Nation's Divide" (2016). Companion listening for this episode:The Short Life and Early Death of Voting Rights (7/12/2021)Birth, August 1965. Death, July 2021. So now what for multiracial democracy? "The United States of Anxiety" airs live on Sunday evenings at 6pm ET. The podcast episodes are lightly edited from our live broadcasts. To catch all the action, tune into the show on Sunday nights via the stream on WNYC.org/anxiety or tell your smart speakers to play WNYC. We want to hear from you! Connect with us on Twitter @WNYC using the hashtag #USofAnxiety or email us at anxiety@wnyc.org.

Is Love the Most Transformative Political Act?

This MLK Weekend, Rev. Dr. Jacqueline Lewis helps us understand the potential of love in our politics. Then, hear from a student participating in a hunger strike for voting rights. What is it like putting your body on the line when your own Senator is the person standing in the way? Arizona State University sophomore, Michaela Schillinger, takes us through the process of organizing a strike while balancing school, meeting with legislators like Senator Kyrsten Sinema, and a surprising update as the story continues to unfold. Companion listening for this episode: How Martin Luther King, Jr., Changed American Christianity (1/18/2021) What did MLK's uniquely Black theology teach us about the relationship between faith and politics in 2021? "The United States of Anxiety" airs live on Sunday evenings at 6pm ET. The podcast episodes are lightly edited from our live broadcasts. To catch all the action, tune into the show on Sunday nights via the stream on WNYC.org/anxiety or tell your smart speakers to play WNYC.

How to Spot the End of Democracy

On a scale of 1-10, how anxious are you about the state of our democracy? Kai considers when democracy is past its tipping point with New York Times columnist Thomas Edsall. Plus callers tell us how anxious they are about the state of our democracy. Then is the right better at the internet than the left? Senior producer Kousha Navidar reports back. Companion listening for this episode: The Supreme Court v. Our Rights (12/6/2021) Another year of the SCOTUS is coming to a close. But can we still trust our nine appointed justices to be the final arbiters of the law? Listen to the end for our last digital living segment. "The United States of Anxiety" airs live on Sunday evenings at 6pm ET. The podcast episodes are lightly edited from our live broadcasts. To catch all the action, tune into the show on Sunday nights via the stream on WNYC.org/anxiety or tell your smart speakers to play WNYC. We want to hear from you! Connect with us on Twitter @WNYC using the hashtag #USofAnxiety or email us at anxiety@wnyc.org.

Lynn Nottage: Unexpected Optimist

Two-time Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Lynn Nottage (Ruined, Sweat, Clyde's) breaks down her remarkable career and shares how, as an optimist at heart, she finds the light and resilience in unexpected stories. Plus, she tells host Kai Wright about her hopes for the future of theater and her interest in making the medium accessible and meeting people where they are. Companion listening for this episode: 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 United States of Anxiety" airs live on Sunday evenings at 6pm ET. The podcast episodes are lightly edited from our live broadcasts. To catch all the action, tune into the show on Sunday nights via the stream on WNYC.org/anxiety or tell your smart speakers to play WNYC. We want to hear from you! Connect with us on Twitter @WNYC using the hashtag #USofAnxiety or email us at anxiety@wnyc.org.

What Does Black Ambition Sound Like?

James Reese Europe was already famous when he enlisted to fight in World War I. But the band he took to the frontlines — as part of the famous 369th Infantry Regiment, also known as the Harlem Hellfighters — thurst him, and Black American music, onto the global stage. Moran sits down at the piano to show Kai how Europe's band changed music, and how jazz carries the resilient sound of Black history and ambition in America. Companion listening for this episode: The 'Beautiful Experiments' Left Out of Black History (2/8/2021) 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 United States of Anxiety" airs live on Sunday evenings at 6pm ET. The podcast episodes are lightly edited from our live broadcasts. To catch all the action, tune into the show on Sunday nights via the stream on WNYC.org/anxiety or tell your smart speakers to play WNYC. We want to hear from you! Connect with us on Twitter @WNYC using the hashtag #USofAnxiety or email us at anxiety@wnyc.org.

Face the Darkness, Welcome the Light

Do you need a revival? On the longest night of the year, join us to celebrate Yalda, a poetic Persian tradition. Then, a conversation about those we've lost with jazz and gospel artist Gregory Porter. Here's the translation of the Hafez poem read by Armen Davoudian at the end of our show: Ghazal 43 (Hafez) The orchard charms our hearts, and chatter when our dearest friends appear – is sweet; God bless the time of roses! To drink our wine among the roses here – is sweet! Our souls' scent sweetens with each breeze; ah yes, the sighs that lovers hear – are sweet. Sing, nightingale! Rosebuds unopened yet will leave you, and your fear – is sweet; Dear singer of the night, for those in love your sad lament is clear – and sweet. The world's bazaar contains no joy, except the libertine's; food cheer – is sweet! I heard the lilies say, "The world is old, to take things lightly here – is sweet." Hafez, the happy heart ignores the world; don't think dominion here – is sweet. — Translated by Dick Davis in Faces of Love: Hafez and the Poets of Shriaz (Penguin) You can watch the live-streamed Yalda event mentioned in the show. Here is the information: Tuesday, Dec. 21st, 9PM Eastern/ 6PM, PST Instagram: @iraniandiaspora studiesFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/CenterforIranianDiasporaStudiesYouTube: Center for Iranian Diaspora Studies "Celebrating Shab-e Yalda" is a pre-recorded event premiering on the longest night of the year, Tuesday, December 21, 2021 at 6:00 PM. This very special program includes poetry reading and a performance from Paris-based opera singer and composer Ariana Vafadari and California-based singer Sima Shahverdi, as well as a ceremonial lighting of candles to bring light and warmth to this night. Co-presented by The Center for Iranian Diaspora Studies at San Francisco State University and the Diaspora Arts Connection, this is a free event and no registration is required. All you have to do is tune in to our Facebook, Instagram, and/or YouTube channels on the evening of December 21 to watch. Companion Listening: How the Dead Still Speak to Us (11/1/2021) This Halloween, we reveal its history and why connecting to the dead is important to so many, from Ireland, to Mexico, to NYC. Plus a guided meditation to help you connect, too. "The United States of Anxiety" airs live on Sunday evenings at 6pm ET. The podcast episodes are lightly edited from our live broadcasts. To catch all the action, tune into the show on Sunday nights via the stream on WNYC.org/anxiety or tell your smart speakers to play WNYC.

Talking About Racism Is an Act of Love

Three men — White, Black, and Asian — discuss the nuances of identity that divide this country. A bonus episode, introducing a new podcast we love: "Some of My Best Friends Are..." Our host Kai Wright talks with Khalil Gibran Muhammed about the new show. And we share an episode in which Khalil and Ben Austen, two best friends who grew up together on the South Side of Chicago in '80s, talk with New York Times journalist and author Jay Caspian Kang about his new memoir, The Loneliest Americans, and his experience growing up Asian in America. Companion Listening: Listen to more episodes of the Some of My Best Friends Are... Podcast: "Some of My Best Friends Are... is a podcast hosted by Khalil Gibran Muhammad and Ben Austen, two best friends who grew up together on the South Side of Chicago in the 1980s. Today a Harvard professor and an award-winning journalist, Khalil and Ben still go to each other to talk about their experiences with the absurdities and intricacies of race in America. In Some of My Best Friends Are... with Khalil Gibran Muhammad and Ben Austen, they invite listeners into their unfiltered conversations about growing up together in a deeply-divided country, and navigating that divide as it exists today." "The United States of Anxiety" airs live on Sunday evenings at 6pm ET. The podcast episodes are lightly edited from our live broadcasts. To catch all the action, tune into the show on Sunday nights via the stream on WNYC.org/anxiety or tell your smart speakers to play WNYC. We want to hear from you! Connect with us on Twitter @WNYC using the hashtag #USofAnxiety or email us at anxiety@wnyc.org.

A Year of Performing Humanity, Reviewed

A.O. Scott, co-chief film critic of the New York Times, helps us review the year in culture. What can we learn about our struggling effort to live together from this year's art? Then, a conversation with WQXR's Terrance McKnight about the life and legacy of famed contralto, Marian Anderson. The List Here's a crowd-sourced list of 2021's defining art gathered from listeners and our guest. If you have a suggestion tweet us at #USofAnxiety. Film InsidePassingThe Closer Television Squid Game Music Marian Anderson--Beyond the Music (This is what we discussed in the last part of the episode) Art The Shape of Things by Carrie Mae Weems Cultural Trends Non-Fungible Tokens Companion Listening: Actor Daniel Kaluuya's Road to Revolutionary (3/4/2021) Kai talks to the "Judas and the Black Messiah" star about his award-winning portrayal of Fred Hampton and the legacy of the Black Panther Party. "The United States of Anxiety" airs live on Sunday evenings at 6pm ET. The podcast episodes are lightly edited from our live broadcasts. To catch all the action, tune into the show on Sunday nights via the stream on WNYC.org/anxiety or tell your smart speakers to play WNYC. We want to hear from you! Connect with us on Twitter @WNYC using the hashtag #USofAnxiety or email us at anxiety@wnyc.org.

The Supreme Court v. Our Rights

Another year of The Supreme Court of the United States is coming to a close. But can we still trust our nine appointed justices to be the final arbiters of the law?. Co-hosts of the Boom! Lawyered podcast, Jessica Mason Pieklo and Imani Gandy, join Kai Wright to answer those questions and more from our listeners about Dobbs v. Jackson and the impact of abortion rights on the U.S. Plus, results from our audience experiment to see how platforms on the Internet shape the content we consume. Companion Listening: Dissent, Dissent, Dissent (9/20/2020) In this special episode, we reflect on the life and legacy of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, following her passing. Kai is joined by Emily Bazelon (Staff Writer at The New York Times Magazine and Co-Host of "Political Gabfest" at Slate), WNYC's own Brian Lehrer and callers like you to talk about the impact of the "Notorious RBG" on the nation and its citizens. "The United States of Anxiety" airs live on Sunday evenings at 6pm ET. The podcast episodes are lightly edited from our live broadcasts. To catch all the action, tune into the show on Sunday nights via the stream on WNYC.org/anxiety or tell your smart speakers to play WNYC. We want to hear from you! Connect with us on Twitter @WNYC using the hashtag #USofAnxiety or email us at anxiety@wnyc.org.

An Anti-Racism Refresher

Anti-racist work snuck into the mainstream last year. But ever since, it's received a huge backlash. Why, and what did right-wing media have to gain? This week, Kai revisits two conversations: First, with Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, author of five best-selling books including How to Be an Antiracist, about what anti-racism really means. Then, Dr. Nicole Hemmer, author of Messengers of the Right: Conservative Media and the Transformation of American Politics, explains how right wing media serves — and surrounds — its audience. Companion listening for this episode: The 'Beautiful Experiments' Left Out of Black History (02/08/2021) 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 United States of Anxiety" airs live on Sunday evenings at 6pm ET. The podcast episodes are lightly edited from our live broadcasts. To catch all the action, tune into the show on Sunday nights via the stream on WNYC.org/anxiety or tell your smart speakers to play WNYC. We want to hear from you! Connect with us on Twitter @WNYC using the hashtag #USofAnxiety or email us at anxiety@wnyc.org.