Kai Wright

Host & Managing Editor, The United States of Anxiety

Kai Wright is host and managing editor of The United States of Anxiety, a podcast about the unfinished business of our history and its grip on our future, produced by WNYC Studios.

The Atlantic hailed the show as one of the “The Best Podcasts of 2018,” declaring that it “has always been able to swiftly explain current events through the lens of the past.”

In addition, Wright was the host of WNYC Studios’ other limited edition podcasts with social justice themes: The Stakes, There Goes the Neighborhood, and Caught: The Lives of Juvenile Justice, which was honored with an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award. He also served as one of the hosts of Indivisible, a national live radio call-in show that WNYC convened during the first 100 days of the Trump Administration to invite Americans to come together across divides.

Wright’s journalism has focused on social, racial, and economic justice throughout his career. Formerly, he was an editor at The Nation and the editorial director of Colorlines. As a fellow of Type Investigations, he covered economic inequality, access to healthcare, and racial inequity. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Mother Jones, and Salon, among other outlets, and his broadcast appearances include MSNBC and NPR. Wright is the author of Drifting Toward Love: Black, Brown, Gay and Coming of Age on the Streets of New York, as well as two surveys of black American history.

Shows:

Kai Wright appears in the following:

One Family’s Land of Opportunity

Monday, November 30, 2020

A family’s legend about "40 acres and a mule” takes host Kai Wright on a fact checking mission to the Mississippi Delta. He finds an unexpected solution to wealth inequality in the U.S.

Affirmative Action: Truths and Lies

Monday, November 23, 2020

“Reverse racism” has haunted the fight for job equity for generations. How’d this bizarre idea become such a bugbear? One Supreme Court case, 50 years ago helps explain.

MAGA, the New Confederate Lost Cause

Monday, November 16, 2020

White supremacist myths turn defeated leaders into heroic victors. Will Donald Trump now get the same transfiguration as Robert E. Lee?

What the Election Means for New York and New Jersey

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

WNYC’s politics reporter Brigid Bergin and New Jersey Public Radio’s Nancy Solomon join us to take your calls and answer how recent elections are impacting our communities.

Meditations on a Bittersweet Election

Monday, November 09, 2020

Melissa Harris-Perry joins Kai to discuss all of our complex feelings as Donald Trump’s presidency comes to an end.

What's At Stake in This Election?

Wednesday, November 04, 2020

As results continue to come in, Kai Wright, host and managing editor of The United States of Anxiety, discusses what's at stake. 

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An Invitation To Dream

Monday, November 02, 2020

Radical imagination is now essential. What can we imagine for our country, our communities, and ourselves --beyond this election, and beyond this pandemic?

Who Matters in America 2020?

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Trump, Inc. co-host Andrea Bernstein sits down with Kai Wright, to discuss how American history informs the 2020 election.

What it Means When Jared Kushner Says Black People Have to 'Want to be Successful'

Thursday, October 29, 2020

What is behind the stereotype of Black people not wanting success?

They’ve Never Wanted You to Vote

Monday, October 26, 2020

From poll taxes to the canard of “voter fraud,” it’s always been a struggle to cast a ballot in America. We review the record, and investigate the anti-democracy enablers of 2020. 

Who Matters In America

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Trump, Inc. co-host Andrea Bernstein sits down with Kai Wright, host of The United States of Anxiety, to discuss how American history informs the 2020 election.

A Zombie Political Party

Monday, October 19, 2020

Conservatives who’ve shunned the GOP say it’s given up on democracy. Which begs the question: How long ago did that happen?

Inside the Pandemic's First Days

Monday, October 12, 2020

What can we learn from our short, grim history with Covid-19? Former New York City health commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot reflects on the opening weeks of the nation’s largest outbreak.

How to Steal an Election

Monday, October 05, 2020

The president has made clear he will dispute the results if he loses in November. But actually, the fight over the count has already begun.

A Historian's Guide to the 2020 Election

Monday, September 28, 2020

Many of the conflicts that we face today echo from the often forgotten Reconstruction era. We go back 165 years to understand the unfulfilled promises of our past and how we got here.

America Are We Ready For Truth And Reconciliation?

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

A look at the truth of America's racial divide and how to reconcile.

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A Court On The Edge

Monday, September 21, 2020

Voting rights cases are moving fast. The Affordable Care Act faces yet another life or death hearing. And that’s before we even get to the fight over who’ll replace Justice Ginsburg.

Dissent, Dissent, Dissent

Sunday, September 20, 2020

As the country mourns the loss of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, we gather together to honor the life and legacy of the woman, the pioneer, the icon and the daughter of Brooklyn.

Serving Up Social Justice

Monday, September 14, 2020

Despite empty stands, athletes are making waves across the sports industry speaking out against anti-black violence. Many Americans support, but not everyone is a fan.

The Necessary Work

Monday, September 07, 2020

Public and care workers have been on the frontlines of the pandemic, but who takes care of them? We explore the histories, realities and hopes of these very essential workers.