100 episodes

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 WNYC

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.3 • 1.4K Ratings

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.

    An Anti-Racism Refresher

    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.

    • 51 min
    The Myth of a ‘United’ States

    The Myth of a ‘United’ States

    History shows that our country’s actually been divided from the start. If secession is in our DNA, what’s keeping us together? Should we just break up already? Kai talks with author Richard Kreitner about his book, “Break It Up: Secession, Division, and the Secret History of America’s Imperfect Union.” Plus, a look at how the Internet and the “Filter Bubble” contribute to our isolation today. Stick around for an exercise you can do when the divide gets real at the Thanksgiving table.

    Companion listening for this episode:

    Can America Be Redeemed? (07/05/2021)

    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.

    • 50 min
    Promises to Help the Climate Keep Breaking

    Promises to Help the Climate Keep Breaking

    Who’s breaking them, and why? Coming off of COP26, we talk to journalists Elizabeth Kolbert and David Wallace-Wells about the real cost of the climate crisis and who is paying the price. Learn about climate reparations, hear answers to listener questions, and discover what’s left for us to try to move forward as a global society.


    Plus, revisit the history of the 1992 Earth Summit that we discuss in the episode: https://www.wnycstudios.org/podcasts/anxiety/episodes/united-states-of-anxiety-season-2-podcast-epiode-2 

    Companion listening for this episode:

    Nothing You Do Alone Will Save the Climate (9/20/2021)

    New science finds we’ve got less than a decade to avoid catastrophe. Activist and author Bill McKibben says the only solutions that can beat that deadline are collective.



    “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.

    • 49 min
    Fired at 59: Lessons on Job Insecurity in the U.S.

    Fired at 59: Lessons on Job Insecurity in the U.S.

    Broadcast journalist Ray Suarez was 59 when he lost a dream job that took decades to reach. What he did next reveals a harsh reality of class blindness and the consequences of job insecurity in the U.S. His experience inspired a new podcast that “gives voice to people who have lost jobs, lost their homes, and sometimes lost the narrative thread of their lives.” He joins host Kai Wright to preview his story and helps take calls from our listeners. 

    Listen to Going for Broke With Ray Suarez, a new podcast by the Economic Hardship Reporting Project and The Nation.

    Companion listening for this episode:

    Maybe We Just Want Less ‘Work’ (9/7/2021)

    The “Great Resignation” appears to be a real thing. But why? We ask workers what they really want. Plus, 45 questions to help us understand each other, and ourselves.

    “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.

    • 50 min
    How the Dead Still Speak to Us

    How the Dead Still Speak to Us

    This Halloween, we reveal the holiday’s often untold history and why connecting to the dead is important to so many people, from Ireland, to Mexico, to NYC. What about this time of year lowers the veil between the living and the dead, and what does this universal desire to connect with those who’ve passed teach us about ourselves? Plus, make sure to listen to the end for a conversation with award-winning psychic medium Betsy LeFae, host of the podcast Trust Yourself. She leads Kai through a guided meditation that can help you connect, too.

     

    Companion listening for this episode:

    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 each other.

    “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.

    • 59 min
    Making it in New York: The Eric Adams Story

    Making it in New York: The Eric Adams Story

    In just two weeks, New Yorkers could elect Eric Adams, making him the city’s second-ever Black mayor. What does his rise through civil service tell us about the ways race and power have evolved in the nation’s largest city? Hear from Errol Louis, one of New York's longest-serving political journalists, about how Adams's story is part of a much broader history of Black politics -- a story that began in a Brooklyn church, some 50 years ago.



    Companion listening for this episode:

    'Community' Is a Verb. And It’s Hard (6/12/2020)

    To a lot of people, Eric Adams offers a sense of safety after a spike of violence in their communities. Revisit an episode about how people all over the country found ways to “do the work” in their communities in the midst of the Black Lives Matter movement. But as they did, they faced challenges that went beyond Covid-19 and police violence. Two stories, from Chicago and New York City.



    “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.

    • 51 min

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5
1.4K Ratings

1.4K Ratings

CTNJ87 ,

Important and thought-provoking program for these times

Kai and the team at United States of Anxiety are offering important and thought-provoking discussions of social and cultural issues to help listeners try to make more sense of the world around us.

greencg ,

Patiently insightful

Kai is a great interviewer. He and Jelani Cobb had me wanting more in the Critical Race Theory discussion. Keep ‘em coming.

askepticisneverfooled ,

An amazingly well-researched and insightful series, a true gem

I’m very happy that this series exists. We are one nation, and we need to understand each other and the stresses that exist in each other’s communities. Whichever way the election goes, we will all still be here together afterward.

OK, that was written during the 2016 election season. The format and emphasis have changed a bit, but this remains an extremely insightful and well-researched show. I have learned a lot about this country I’ve always lived in from this show.

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