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The United States of Anxiety

Author: WNYC Studios

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The 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.
54 Episodes
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Fragility in Liberty

Fragility in Liberty

2020-02-2000:42:03

Many of us associate the Statue of Liberty with the poem mounted on her pedestal: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” The monument has become a symbol of immigration. What fewer of us know is that Lady Liberty was originally conceived as a tribute to the abolition of slavery. In fact, what we find as we look into history is that our country's immigration policy is closely intertwined with the end of Reconstruction and rise of Jim Crow. In this episode, we tell the story of one undocumented immigrant—Carlos Aguirre-Venegas—and trace the origins of a little-known law that's now being used to prosecute tens of thousands of people who crossed the border, separate some from their children, and lock them away in federal prisons. - Jim Elkin is a National Park Ranger at Statue of Liberty National Monument - Eric Foner is author of The Second Founding - Kelly Lytle Hernandez is a professor of History, African American Studies, and Urban Planning at UCLA and author of City of Inmates Hosted by Kai Wright. Reported by Seth Freed Wessler, in partnership with Type Investigations. Produced and edited by Christopher Werth. For more on Seth's reporting about Carlos Aguirre-Venegas and the privately-run prisons used exclusively to incarcerate non-citizens convicted of crimes, see his 2016 investigation in The Nation.
Paralysis at the Crossroads

Paralysis at the Crossroads

2020-02-1300:22:274

As primary season kicks off, Democratic voters around the country face a deeper choice than electability: Is the best response to Donald Trump a return to comity and unity in our politics, or must they embrace the ugly conflict that fundamental change will likely require? We get advice on confronting the enormity of the choice from Deidre Dejear, a voting advocate in Iowa. Plus, a look back at another election in which voters faced a similar choice--and when politics collapsed into outright warfare. - Deidre Dejear became the first black candidate to win a statewide primary in Iowa when she ran for Secretary of State in 2018. She later became Kamala Harris' Iowa campaign chair. - LeeAnna Keith is author of When It Was Grand. Hosted by Kai Wright. Produced by Jessica Miller. Special thanks to the Public Policy Center at the University of Iowa.
Two Schools in Marin County

Two Schools in Marin County

2020-02-0600:52:142

Last year, the California Attorney General held a tense press conference at a tiny elementary school in the one working class, black neighborhood of the mostly wealthy and white Marin County. His office had concluded that the local district "knowingly and intentionally" maintained a segregated school, violating the 14th amendment. He ordered them to fix it, but for local officials and families, the path forward remains unclear, as is the question: what does "equal protection" mean? - Eric Foner is author of The Second Founding Hosted by Kai Wright. Reported by Marianne McCune.
40 Acres in Mississippi

40 Acres in Mississippi

2020-01-3000:43:294

Elbert Lester has lived his full 94 years in Quitman County, Mississippi, on land he and his family own. That’s exceptional for black people in this area, and some family members even say the land came to them through “40 acres and a mule.” But that's pretty unlikely, so host Kai Wright goes on a search for the truth, and uncovers a story about an old and fundamental question in American politics -- one at the center of the current election: Who are the rightful owners of this country’s staggering wealth? - John Willis is author of Forgotten Time - Eric Foner is author of The Second Founding - The National Memorial for Peace and Justice is located in Montgomery, Alabama. For more information about documented lynchings in Mississippi, and elsewhere, visit the Equal Justice Initiative's interactive report, Lynching in America. You can navigate to each county to learn about documented lynchings there. The United States of Anxiety’s health coverage is supported in part by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Working to build a Culture of Health that ensures everyone in America has a fair and just opportunity for health and well-being. More at RWJF.org.
When the Civil War ended, America set out to do something no other country had tried before: to build the world's first multiracial democracy. More than 150 years later, we’re still trying to pull it off. Will the 2020 election bring us closer to that goal? Follow Kai Wright on Twitter @Kai_Wright.
Welcome to 'The Stakes'

Welcome to 'The Stakes'

2019-04-2300:29:571

From host Kai Wright and the team that brought you The United States of Anxiety, a new show about what's not working about our society, how we can do better and why we have to. In episode one, we investigate one of the longest-running public health epidemics in American history and the ongoing fight for accountability.  Hear more of The Stakes here. Follow Kai on Twitter at @kai_wright. Support for WNYC reporting on lead is provided by the New York State Health Foundation, improving the health of all New Yorkers, especially the most vulnerable. Learn more at www.nyshealth.org. Additional support for WNYC’s health coverage is provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Jane and Gerald Katcher and the Katcher Family Foundation, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
The junior senator from New York has quickly developed a reputation as a political firebrand - one who's willing to challenge men who abuse their power, even when they're among her closest allies. Think Al Franken and Bill Clinton. Over the past decade, she went from being a newly-elected U.S. Representative appointed to fill Hillary Clinton's Senate seat to become one of the Democratic Party's most-likely contenders for the 2020 presidential nomination. What does Kirsten Gillibrand's rise tell us about the relationship between gender and power in American politics?
¡Sí Se Puede!

¡Sí Se Puede!

2018-11-0900:26:17

Before “Yes we can!”, there was “¡Sí se puede!” – the workers’ rallying cry coined by lifelong activist Dolores Huerta. In this episode, Huerta (now 88) is interviewed by her daughter Juana about the role gender played in her work and family life. Plus, what the midterm results mean going forward. This episode was produced in partnership with Latino USA, a weekly Latino news and culture program from NPR and the Futuro Media Group. Check out their version of this story here. The United States of Anxiety is supported in part by the Economic Hardship Reporting Project. Additional support for WNYC’s election coverage is provided by Emerson Collective, The New York Community Trust, and New York Public Radio Trustee Dr. Mary White. This report is produced with support from Chasing the Dream, a public media initiative from WNET reporting on poverty, jobs, and economic opportunity in America.
Shrill, strident, bossy. These are the misogynistic slurs women often face when they run for elected office. In this episode, we meet Rena Cook, a voice coach in Oklahoma who’s training progressive, female candidates on how to subvert our inbuilt biases about women’s voices. Plus, we look back on what the 1977 National Women’s Conference did (and didn’t) do for feminism. The United States of Anxiety is supported in part by the Economic Hardship Reporting Project. Additional support for WNYC’s election coverage is provided by Emerson Collective, The New York Community Trust, and New York Public Radio Trustee Dr. Mary White.
The Right Kind of Woman

The Right Kind of Woman

2018-10-3100:35:152

Women running for office are often forced to play by different rules. We look at two candidates: Stacey Abrams in Georgia and Mikie Sherrill in suburban New Jersey. Both are Democrats fighting their way into Republican territory, but in very different ways. Plus, Michigan’s first female governor weighs in on all the “don’ts” for women politicians. This episode is a collaboration with Death, Sex, and Money, another WNYC Studios podcast. Check out their full episode on Jennifer Granholm, former Governor of Michigan.  The United States of Anxiety is supported in part by the Economic Hardship Reporting Project. Additional support for WNYC’s election coverage is provided by Emerson Collective, The New York Community Trust, and New York Public Radio Trustee Dr. Mary White. This report is produced with support from Chasing the Dream, a public media initiative from WNET reporting on poverty, jobs, and economic opportunity in America.
Rural Texas has a reputation as solid Republican territory, but hidden within those large swathes of red are small, individual flecks of blue. In this episode, we bring you the story of a group of progressive, Texan women who are organizing — in secret — out of fear of retaliation from their neighbors. The United States of Anxiety is supported in part by the Economic Hardship Reporting Project. Additional support for WNYC’s election coverage is provided by Emerson Collective, The New York Community Trust, and New York Public Radio Trustee Dr. Mary White. Special thanks to Professor Shannon McGregor in the Department of Communication at The University of Utah and to Caroline Covington for her reporting in Burnet, Texas. Additional thanks to Emily Van Duyn, whose full study "Hidden Democracy: Political Dissent in Rural America" is available in the Journal of Communication, a publication of the International Communication Association.    
Ida B. Wells

Ida B. Wells

2018-10-1800:27:492

Journalist and activist Ida B. Wells is in some ways a forgotten figure, overlooked even in black civil rights history. But her reporting on lynchings across the South was unwavering in its mission: calling America out on racial injustice. And, why black women are no longer willing to play the role of “Magical Negro” in U.S. politics. The United States of Anxiety recently recorded a live episode remembering the life and work of Ida B. Wells at The Greene Space. Watch the whole event here. The United States of Anxiety is supported in part by the Economic Hardship Reporting Project. Additional support for WNYC’s election coverage is provided by Emerson Collective, The New York Community Trust, and New York Public Radio Trustee Dr. Mary White.  This report is produced with support from Chasing the Dream, a public media initiative from WNET reporting on poverty, jobs, and economic opportunity in America.  
The Original Nasty Woman

The Original Nasty Woman

2018-10-1000:32:582

Jeannette Rankin had a belief: That women were essential to the health of our democracy. She became the first woman elected to Congress over a century ago. Now, Kathleen Williams is vying to follow in her footsteps. Plus, what if we filled all 435 seats in the House with women? Would it make a difference? The United States of Anxiety is supported in part by the Economic Hardship Reporting Project. Additional support for WNYC’s election coverage is provided by Emerson Collective, The New York Community Trust, and New York Public Radio Trustee Dr. Mary White. Loading...
Playboy was never just about the pictures or the articles. The magazine helped create a men's liberation movement, founded on the notion that men could have anything they wanted. From Donald Trump to Harvey Weinstein, Hugh Hefner's concept of the "indoor man" has had a lasting influence. The United States of Anxiety is supported in part by the Economic Hardship Reporting Project. Additional support for WNYC’s election coverage is provided by Emerson Collective, The New York Community Trust, and New York Public Radio Trustee Dr. Mary White.    
The Pedestal

The Pedestal

2018-09-2500:27:382

Paula Casey is on a mission. She wants to erect a statue in Memphis dedicated to those who fought for a woman’s right to vote more than a century ago. The problem: There’s a Confederate monument in the way. And… meet the woman who vowed to shut down women’s suffrage forever. The United States of Anxiety is supported in part by the Economic Hardship Reporting Project. Additional support for WNYC’s election coverage is provided by Emerson Collective, The New York Community Trust, and New York Public Radio Trustee Dr. Mary White.
We've Been Here Before

We've Been Here Before

2018-09-1800:19:061

When Barbara Mikulski arrived in the Senate, all the podiums were built for men… and so was Washington's power structure. So she changed it. In this episode, Mikulski and three of her female Senate colleagues look back at Anita Hill's testimony and the 1992 elections that followed it, the last “Year of the Woman.” The United States of Anxiety is supported in part by the Economic Hardship Reporting Project. Additional support for WNYC’s election coverage is provided by Emerson Collective, The New York Community Trust, and New York Public Radio Trustee Dr. Mary White.
The Dream Was Not Mine

The Dream Was Not Mine

2018-09-1700:36:421

Jennifer Willoughby was in an abusive marriage. Saily Avelenda was unhappy with her congressman, who'd held office for over two decades without facing a serious contender. They didn’t know they were about to topple two political giants. Plus, want to know the real reason the 2018 midterms could make history? It has to do with a number political scientists call the "gender gap." Note: WNYC made several attempts to reach Rob Porter for comment. He did not respond before this episode was released.  The United States of Anxiety is supported in part by the Economic Hardship Reporting Project. Additional support for WNYC’s election coverage is provided by Emerson Collective, The New York Community Trust, and New York Public Radio Trustee Dr. Mary White.
Women gained the right to vote nearly a century ago. Yet, power is still concentrated in the hands of men. In a year that’s seen a surge of female candidates, the question at the heart of the 2018 midterms is: Who is our democracy for?
A record number of women are running for office this primary season, which means there's a groundswell of energy around targeting female voters with campaign ads. For our next season of the United States of Anxiety, we’re focusing on power and gender, and we’ve partnered with ProPublica to look at how political advertising targets people of different genders differently on Facebook. Unlike broadcast television ads, which are heavily regulated, we have no idea how individual voters are micro-targeted on Facebook. It’s still the Wild West. Nor do we know about potentially unethical or misleading advertising that may be happening. We do know from the Cambridge Analytica scandal that much of the misinformation spread in 2016 targeted people based on their race and gender. And we know that this is an election in which gender is expected to be a decisive factor. What can you do? Download the ProPublica Ad Tracker Extension - You can download the Facebook Political Ad Collector from the Chrome Web Store or the Mozilla Add-ons Store. NOTE: ProPublica is NOT collecting any private information from you. The plugin simply copies the ads you are seeing in your unique feed. You can read more about how ProPublica is protecting your privacy here. See the ads that other people are seeing - take a look through ProPublica’s database of political ads Send us tips - Have you seen any political ads that appear to target you by your gender? Or target you by your race? Have you seen any political ads that appear to celebrate women? Or any ads that seem misogynistic? Take a screenshot and email us at narrative@wnyc.org to tell us what you’re seeing.  By doing this, you'll be part of groundbreaking research — remember this is the first election cycle since Facebook changed its policies. And you'll also be helping WNYC and ProPublica bring you reporting and analysis about these campaign ads. To get started, visit propublica.org/facebook.  
America incarcerates more people than any country in the world. It starts with kids. On any given night, roughly 53,000 young people are in some form of lockup. Nearly 60 percent are black or Latino. We all make dumb mistakes in our youth. But for these kids, those same destructive choices have a lasting impact. Mass incarceration starts young. From the team that brought you The United States of Anxiety, Caught: The Lives of Juvenile Justice tells the stories of young lives forever changed by collisions with law and order. In this episode, meet Z, a kid who had his first encounters with law enforcement when he was just 12 years old. Now, at 16, he’s sitting in detention on an armed robbery charge. Z's story introduces the questions: What happens once we decide a child is a criminal? What does society owe those children, beyond punishment? And what are the human consequences of the expansion and hardening of criminal justice policies that began in the 1990s – consequences disproportionately experienced by black and brown youth? Caught: The Lives of Juvenile Justice is supported, in part, by the Anne Levy Fund, Margaret Neubart Foundation, the John and Gwen Smart Family Foundation, and the Economic Hardship Reporting Project. Subscribe on iTunes.
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Comments (3)

#Royalebleu

just started listening

Feb 17th
Reply

Nancy Loomis

Oh my, I wanted to cry listening to the degradation and violence that African Americans had to endure in Mississippi and other southern states "back in the day." And I've heard this history before...all the nasty, deadly and heartless treatment. Still, it disturbs me when I hear it afresh. I'm a white American, born in Ala, but primarily raised in Ohio & Fla., but at 63 I recall how things were & how grateful I was that I never had to experience "that." But what about others not so "lucky?"Am I not my brother & sister's keeper as the story in the Bible tells me? Aren't the words in the Sunday School song "red and yellow, black & white, they are precious in his sight" true? And we know racism & prejudice for blacks and other people of color is still alive & well with much left to be done, especially in our criminal justice system and law enforcement. I pray to God that we can get out from under a president such as Trump who fuels racism and seems bent on taking us back in time to a place that is worse for all.

Jan 31st
Reply

Jeff Burt

oku nix hn ok j NCnozzlenohn hn h NCgii mc blol NH NH h ñNaz gbnbcch Yzerman d gb hik CT

Oct 24th
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