Radio Atlantic: Becoming White in America

Alex Wagner discusses the American immigrant story (and her new book) with Matt, Jeff, and editor Adam Serwer.

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In her new book Futureface, Alex Wagner writes that “immigration raises into relief some of our most basic existential questions: Who am I? Where do I belong? And in that way, it’s inextricably tied to an exploration of American identity.” In the book, Alex explores her own American identity – daughter of a Burmese immigrant mother and a small-town Irish Catholic father – and asks how true the stories we grow up with really are.

Along with co-hosts Matt and Jeff, Alex is joined by The Atlantic’s deputy politics editor Adam Serwer to discuss the tangled intersections of history, heritage, family, race, and nationality. Is America truly a melting pot? Can nationalism be liberal? And is that stalwart American immigrant story just a history written by the victors?


- Futureface (Alex Wagner, 2018)
- “The Nationalist's Delusion” (Adam Serwer, November 20, 2017)
- “America Is Not a Democracy” (Yascha Mounk, March 2018 Issue)
- ”The End of Identity Liberalism” (Mark Lilla, New York Times, November 18, 2016)
- ”How Can Liberals Reclaim Nationalism?” (Yascha Mounk, New York Times, March 3, 2018)
- “Why Are We Surprised When Buddhists Are Violent?” (Dan Arnold and Alicia Turner, New York Times, March 5, 2018)
- “The Americans Our Government Won’t Count” (Alex Wagner, New York Times, March 30, 2018)
- “Huapango” by José Pablo Moncayo (South West German Radio Kaiserslautern Orchestra, 2007)
- Black and White: Land, Labor, and Politics in the South (Timothy Thomas Fortune, 1884)
- Pogrom: Kishinev and the Tilt of History (Steven Zipperstein, 2018)