How "Bich" Became “Beth” – An American Tale

How "Bich" Became “Beth” – An American Tale

By WNYC Studios

Notes from America

Monday, 21 March

What’s in a name? A lot. A listener's voicemail inspired us to explore the sometimes complicated relationship between our names and our racial and ethnic identities. Host Kai Wright is joined by novelist Beth Nguyen to discuss her personal journey when it comes to her name, and invites callers to share their own stories. Check out Beth’s article for The New Yorker: America Ruined My Name For Me

Companion listening for this episode:

Why So Many Are Stuck in the “Other” Box (2/21/2022)

The episode that motivated such listener reactions: The U.S. Census named “some other race” as the second-largest racial group in the U.S. Mona Chalabi talks us through the data, and the stakes, of that statistic.

“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 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

Heart UK