TRANSCRIPT Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Ray Suarez on his new book ‘We Are Home: Becoming American in the 21st Century’

You may have heard Ray Suarez on Bullseye before. He was last a guest on the show in 2016 and has since interviewed all kinds of folks for us. Lately, Ray has been spending a lot of time abroad. He lectures at the New York University campus in Shanghai. During his time abroad, he’s been thinking a lot about what it means to be an immigrant. He’s interviewed people from all across the globe on the topic, and has compiled their stories into a new book called We Are Home: Becoming American in the 21st Century.

Guests: Ray Suarez



Transition: Gentle, trilling music with a steady drumbeat plays under the dialogue.

Promo: Bullseye with Jesse Thorn is a production of and is distributed by NPR.

Music: “Huddle Formation” from the album Thunder, Lightning, Strike by The Go! Team—a fast, upbeat, peppy song. Music plays as Jesse speaks, then fades out.

Jesse Thorn: It’s Bullseye. I’m Jesse Thorn. My next guest is Ray Suarez. Maybe you’ve heard him on our show before. He was last a guest in 2016 when we did a live show in Washington, DC. He lives there a lot of the time. I still remember the corridors of NPR buzzing. Someone literally said to me, “I didn’t realize Ray was so fun!” More recently, you might have heard him hosting our show. He’s interviewed all kinds of folks for us—Bonnie Raitt, Rick Steves, even Desus and Mero. Every time he comes on Bullseye, no matter which side of the table he’s on, it’s a real thrill for me.

The man is a genuine legend, nearly 50 years deep in the game. He’s worked for ABC, CNN, CBS. He was a correspondent on the PBS NewsHour. For years, he was the host of NPR’s Talk of the Nation. Frankly, (chuckles) I realize now as I list those credits, he is a little overqualified to work on Bullseye. Lately, Suarez has been spending a lot of time abroad. He lectures at the NYU campus in Shanghai, and he’s been thinking a lot about what it means to be an immigrant both in China and in the US—two countries with very different attitudes about immigration and citizenship.

So, he did what he does best. He talked to people. To American immigrants, specifically: people who came from every corner of the world in search of the same thing—a stable life, a stable job, a future for their kids. He compiled those stories into a terrific new book called We Are Home: Becoming American in the 21st Century. So grateful to have Ray back on the show. Let’s get right into it.

Transition: Upbeat synth with light vocalizations.

Jesse Thorn: Ray Suarez, welcome to Bullseye—or at least welcome to Bullseye as a guest. It’s nice to see you, pal.

Ray Suarez: Oh, it’s great to be back. Hi, Jesse.

Jesse Thorn: So, why did you want to write a book about the immigrant experience in America and the history of immigration in America?

Ray Suarez: Doing the book this way is something that kind of snuck up on me. I was a little frustrated. I was a little impatient with the American discourse on immigration. I found it just sort of detached from our history and detached from facts and detached from a rational, calm conversation. But then, when I started to read the Great Replacement Theory, the various manifestos, saw the march at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, I thought, “Yeah, I really have to write about this.”

And over time with my conversations with immigrants, I sort of homed in on having them and their stories and their lives and the way they see their lives be front and center in the book. So, there’s history in there, and there’s data, and there’s economics and all that stuff. But there’s also just them and their American lives. And that’s where I ended up rather than where I began.

Jesse Thorn: You wrote at least part of this book while living outside the country. How did living and working in China, where there are precious few immigrants, change the way that you thought about being an American?

Ray Suarez: It was good to be confronted with that social reality daily. You know when I would walk out of my apartment and walk to the subway and take the subway to school where I was teaching at NYU Shanghai and was confronted not with the teeming masses that, as a New Yorker, I grew up with—people carrying newspapers in half a dozen different languages under their arm and hearing all kinds of languages on the street and so on—but a place that had made very different choices and come up with a very different result as those choices.

Immigrants are not widely welcomed to China, and they have a very low birth rate. Lower than the United States. They are now losing population and will decline in population every year from here on out. And even in the face of that and the possibility of what that does to military recruiting and filling the ranks of factory workers and farm workers in years to come, they have decided to stick with that approach.


And it was a good thing to be confronted with as I was thinking about America, its future, my country, and how my country should think about these same challenges.

Jesse Thorn: How did it feel for you to be there in a world where you were surrounded by a population that was 98.5% from a country and ethnic group that was entirely different to yours?

Ray Suarez: It actually was—it was a fun adventure all the time. And the Chinese are generally very friendly, very welcoming. A lot of people wanted to practice their English. A lot of people were curious about me, because there’s a different manner and a different set of manners around these things. People don’t feel constrained from staring at you. So, people would quite regularly stare at me, even though—and you’ve seen me, Jesse—I’m a fairly unremarkable looking guy. (Laughs.) But coming, tearing down—

Jesse Thorn: Ray, I think you’re very handsome.

Ray Suarez: (Laughs.) Tearing down Fuxing Road on my bicycle on my way to the ferry to work, I certainly was looked up and down. And that outsider-ness was also a healthy thing to have as I was writing a book about immigration.

Jesse Thorn: I want to talk in a minute about the historical progression and changes in the law in immigration in the United States, but I want to stick with your own life now. Did you know other Latinos in New York at the time, when you were a kid, who weren’t Puerto Rican?

Ray Suarez: A few. A few Cubans, a couple of Mexicans, but really not many. Because it was kind of that time. Most of the Latinos I knew were Puerto Rican, because most of the Latinos in New York were Puerto Rican at that time.

Jesse Thorn: Right. When you started working—you worked a long time in Chicago as well—did you even think of yourself as Latino?

Ray Suarez: Oh, yeah, always. But it was a good experience and one that sort of woke me up to the way the country was changing. To experience—you know, when you grow up in New York, especially if you grow up in New York in a family where you have a memory of another place, and you consciously have the identity of being a Latin American, it’s a Puerto Rican world. There were increasing numbers of Dominicans after 1965. There were increasing numbers of Mexicans after the mid-1980s. But really it was—if you were a Latino in New York, if you heard Spanish being spoken on the subway or on the street, if you saw people pushing racks and chatting in the garment district, they were very likely to be Puerto Rican.

And I worked my way through college in hotels in Midtown Manhattan and most of the Latinos there—and hotels were really a Spanish world in the back of the house. Front of house, very diverse. Back of house, a totally Spanish speaking milieu. Most of those people were Puerto Rican too. So, when I moved to Los Angeles and Chicago, that’s when I started to really get the full breadth of the experience, which was very different.

Jesse Thorn: Okay. So, let’s talk a little bit about the history of immigration in America and especially the history of immigration as it interfaces with the law. Speaking as someone who worked for a little while at an immigration law firm, I don’t think a lot of nonimmigrants in the United States have much understanding of what is involved in immigrating to the United States. And you know, I think probably a lot of immigrants in the United States don’t have a lot of understanding of what is involved legally in immigrating to the United States.

The United States obviously has a reputation as the country immigrants can go to. You know, it’s a reputation that we are sometimes proud of. What is the sort of long view of the ebb and flow of how real that reputation is?

Ray Suarez: You know, people like to preen a little bit. And it’s sad kind of, because they want to compare their own families favorably to those of immigrants today. So, they’ll say, “Yeah, you know–yes, it’s true, my great grandparents came from”—fill in the blank—“but I’ll tell you, the difference is they followed the rules when they came.”


And the thing that they allied when they tell that story is that for much of American history, there were hardly any rules or no rules. And yeah, it’s pretty easy to follow the rules when there are hardly any to follow, and it’s pretty easy to get in when the source for whether you’re playing by the rules is you! You arrive at Ellis Island, and some big guy in a uniform leans over a desk and asks you whether you’re fleeing from any extant charges or from prosecution. And you may very well be. But you say no, and you’re in!

Jesse Thorn: Yeah, he can’t email anybody about it.

Ray Suarez: Well, exactly. And it was really easy to come to the United States, Except—and this is a very important exception—from Asia. In the 1880s, the United States Congress passes the Chinese Exclusion Act. To our shame, the only law meant to permanently bar people from one country from this country. It remains in force for multiple generations. It’s followed in 1917 by the Asian Barred Zone Act. And don’t worry, this won’t be on the quiz.

(Jesse chuckles.)

And, that widens the map and says, no, well, you can’t come here from those places either. And if you do, you can’t stay and become a citizen. And it includes most of the countries of Southern and Eastern Asia.

Jesse Thorn: And I mean, a big part of the story here is just these laws started coming into force when it became possible for people in significant numbers to immigrate, right? Like, the groups that were coming were small groups of—relatively small groups of people from Europe, people who were being sold into slavery, and so on. And like, those Chinese people who came in the middle of the 19th century, they’re like the first group of people that is coming here by choice that doesn’t look like the white people running the country, and people pretty much freak out on that basis.

Ray Suarez: And you know, along with just the dry black and white letters of a law on paper, there were, you know, lynch mobs and pogroms and all kinds of really bad stuff that goes on in Chinatowns in California and elsewhere. And yeah, this is a part of the story that we aren’t as comfortable with telling. It’s not bathed in golden light and remembered in sepia toned photographs with sentimental stories of grandma and grandpa. It’s a different part of the story that we should really reckon with when we like to brag, as many Americans do—and I think justifiably so—that we are a country that is welcomed in people from all over the planet. We have to deal with the asterisks. We have to deal with the exceptions. We have to tell on ourselves in order to understand ourselves.

Jesse Thorn: We’re going to take a break. On the other side, even more with Ray Suarez. Stay with us. It’s Bullseye from and NPR.

Transition: Bright, chiming synth.

Jesse Thorn: This is Bullseye. I’m Jesse Thorn. My guest is journalist Ray Suarez. He’s the author of the new book We Are Home: Becoming American in the 21st Century.

To what extent were European immigrants who were not English or German—two of the earliest European immigrant groups in the United States—actually welcomed, at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century? I’m talking about Italians, Irish, Eastern Europeans, and so forth.

Ray Suarez: I think, as the numbers swelled, industry was certainly hungry for people. So, whether it was tin mines filled with Welshmen in Western Pennsylvania and the early steel industry in Eastern Ohio and Southwestern Pennsylvania, making rails and laying the railroads—yeah. I mean, everybody who could get here could get to work, but we kind of beat you up at the front door and then ended up eating your food is what happens over and over again. And by this first world war, that welcome was starting to wear a little thin.


There was increasing suspicion of foreign ideas, foreign philosophies and political ideas, foreign economic ideas. By the teens, when Congress spends a lot of time and a lot of effort making a report on the racial makeup of American immigrants—the Dillingham report—that is starting to reach a fever pitch and also the suspicion that sedition and anti-American feeling was growing among these people who weren’t quite like us. So, you know, people get deported during the First World War for opposing America’s entry into the war. And then shortly after the First World War, Congress finally says enough, and the Immigration and Nationality Act in the 1920s closes the door—not all the way, but just makes it harder to get here from places other than Western Europe. Not impossible, just harder.

And we enter—because of that law, followed by a worldwide depression, followed by a worldwide war, followed by Cold War—we enter a period of 40 years where there’s relatively little immigration to the United States, and we sort of absorb and sentimentalize those past generations.

Jesse Thorn: A lot of assimilation was possible for those huge groups of European immigrants from the beginning of the 20th century because they were able to establish their Whiteness—that Irish and Italian immigrants were able to kind of establish their right to be White people in the United States in a way that they hadn’t been able to 50 years previously and 70 years previously.

Ray Suarez: At the turn of the century, they’re lynching Italian immigrants in places like New Orleans. In post war America, Yogi Berra is selling you YooHoo. Something has fundamentally changed during that time.

Jesse Thorn: And that is not something that will ever be available to an immigrant from China or an immigrant from Senegal, simply because Whiteness will never be available to them.

Ray Suarez: And you know, that conveys—to the irritation of some of them, it conveys a kind of permanent foreignness. Asian immigrants will tell you with a little bit of frustration that they can talk like an Angeleno, they can talk like somebody from Queens or from Atlanta, but when an American, a native-born American says, “Hey, where are you from?”, if you say, “Well, I’m from Queens,” that isn’t really what they’re asking. If you say, “Well, you know, I’m from Los Angeles.” That isn’t what they’re asking.

And the follow up question is often, “Well, I mean, where are you really from?” Because they want to know whether you’re Korean, or Japanese, or Chinese, or from Hong Kong, or Singapore, or whatever. Similarly with South Asians. People want to know. (Chuckling.) You’ll say, “Well, I’m from Dayton, Ohio.” And they want to know if your parents came from Bangalore.

Jesse Thorn: And that’s true of places like Los Angeles where there are plenty of people who’s—there’s plenty of Asian people, for example, whose history as Americans—whose family history as Americans goes back just as far as most of the Irish or Italian Americans who live here.

Ray Suarez: That permanent foreignness is something we’re going to have to deal with as the numbers become what they will be by midcentury. This idea that these people have just gotten here is just going to have to be taken out with the trash. (Chuckling.) It’s not going to work for us as a working social norm.

Jesse Thorn: There’s a big change in immigration law in the 1960s. How does that come about?

Ray Suarez: We’re in the midst of a Cold War. And we are talking to the rest of the world about the superiority of our system. And our global competitors are talking about the fact that our immigration laws are still heavily racially determined. It is much easier to be a White immigrant to the United States before the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. And Lyndon Johnson is very conscious of this. The sponsors in the House and Senate, Phil Hart and Emanuel Celler, are very conscious of this. And they win over enough of their fellows in the two chambers to pass this law—


—which scraps the European-centered quota systems. Which, you know, quotas went unfilled year after year for many places in Europe, because Europe was having a great post-war boom. And we open up to Filipino nurses and Indian American engineers and guys from the Middle East who are business investors, and on and on and on. We become, as a result, a very different country after 1965.

Jesse Thorn: To what extent is the, quote/unquote, “legal immigration” to the United States reflective of the—let’s call it demand for immigration to the United States, in terms of what countries people are coming from?

Ray Suarez: Well, one of the people I profile in the book—a guy who comes to the United States as a Vietnamese boat person; he’s an ethnic Chinese from Vietnam—says, “Look, here’s the great thing about America. You take in 1,000 people, and some of them are doctors, and some of them are busboys, and some of them are farm workers. And you know, you get what you need when you take those people in.” And I thought, well, that was a kind of interesting way of looking at it. Here was a guy, he was a young fella from Vietnam. He had no particular training or expertise. He’s now a millionaire many, many, many times over with his brothers who came with him. And he had just come back from China when I interviewed him in his bakery in the Bay Area. And. He loves his workers, who are from everywhere, and he says, “Look, you know, America’s vitality comes from the fact that it takes on these people. And they find their place in the economy.”

So, yeah—you know, people complain about the blinking light saying ‘Help Wanted’ to people from all over the world, and they end up turning pigs into pork chops in the Midwest, and they end up in the Imperial Valley and the San Joaquin Valley, and they end up on oil rigs in West Texas, and they end up in restaurants in Cleveland. They end up everywhere in the country where workers are needed. And our country has a growing population only because of immigration. And looking at the reports from the Medicare and Social Security bookkeepers that came out in recent weeks, a steadily—not rapidly, but steadily growing economy and a steadily growing population will help when we have this tsunami of retirement. We’re in the middle of it right now, where tens of thousands of people a week are retiring. We don’t want to have our generations being disproportionate, where too many old people are being supported by too few workers.

So, there’s self-interest involved, but there’s also a kind of human decency involved. Don’t treat people badly. It’s a pretty good idea, and it probably will pay tremendous dividends. Yes. Preferably, should people play by the rules? Yes. But if you make the rules too hard to follow, people won’t play by them. And that’s the quandary that we have right now.

Jesse Thorn: So, what are the reality of the rules now? If I am living in Venezuela or in Salvador or in Mexico, do I have the same opportunity to come to the United States, quote/unquote, “legally” as someone in China or Vietnam or England or Germany?

Ray Suarez: If you have money to invest, academic credentials, or a much-needed skill, it’s fairly easy to get into the country. If you—as many aspiring immigrants do—lack those things, and you just try to play the system as it exists today, it will take you many, many years. A lot of Americans like to casually say, “Well, I wouldn’t have any objection if you went back to your home country and got on the end of the line.” I was talking to an Indian immigrant the other day who’s here on an O visa, which is reserved for people with special talents.


But I said to him, “Well, would you like to become an LPR, a legal permanent resident? Would you like to get a green card and stay permanently?”

He said, “Yes. But the waiting list for green cards for Indian nationals, other than under an H1B or O visa, is 100 years.”

And I said, “Oh, I mean you’re being hyperbolic. You’re exaggerating for emphasis.”

He says, “No, it’s 100 years.”

So, the sort of blithe suggestion that you try to do it the right way is—all other things being equal—a good suggestion, but in practical terms, not exactly what a lot of immigrants were looking for. A lot of the Chinese immigrants who are showing up in Ciudad Juárez in Tijuana right now are people who tried to do it the legal way. And then after a wait of, you know, endless time, just said, “Oh, well, the hell with it. I’m going to try to get in this other way.”

Jesse Thorn: Is it hard for you as a child of immigrants to report on this issue and not just feel pain, to manage the… you know, the expectations that you probably place on yourself as a, quote/unquote, “real journalist”? (Chuckling.) As a guy who used to work at the News Hour where Jim Lehrer didn’t even vote? Right? Is it hard for you to stay in a capital J Journalist place when you’re talking to people who have these experiences, and they’re so interrelated with experiences that your parents had and the people that you grew up with and the people who surround you in the city where you live?

Ray Suarez: This is the first time—and this is my fourth book. This is the first time I really awarded myself the privilege of just saying my opinion, of using the word “I” a lot. (Chuckles.) Because it’s not something that came naturally or easily to me. And I realized that I’m both inside the grand narrative, inside the big American story, and a permanent outsider to it. There was never a moment in my life when I wasn’t an American citizen. There was never a moment in my life when my parents weren’t American citizens. We did not experience what a lot of people in this country have been up against, will be up against in the coming years.

But I’ve been up close to it enough to know the realities of it, and I hear my country talking about this problem in ways that don’t match the reality of it. And as a reporter, I find that frustrating! So, I’m trying to pull on their coat a little bit and say, “Here, listen to this. Listen to this person. You say people come here with their hands out, and they just come here because they want free stuff. Listen to this person’s story. You say these people don’t love this country, and they’re just out for themselves. Here, listen to this person’s story of how they got here, how they got over, and how much they love their country today.” I’m trying to do it not by just banging them over the head with my opinion—which I don’t think is that interesting anyway—but putting together a story that at least says to them, “Here. For this time that you’re spending with me, these hours that you’re spending with me, let’s look at this another way.”

That’s really what I tried to spend 300 pages doing.

Jesse Thorn: I grew up in a California that was defined by a kind of Governor Pete Wilson perspective on immigration that could be pretty vindictive. But it feels very different in the United States to me in the last decade.

Ray Suarez: There’s a desire to be tough, that is really just ugly. If you know how many people—

Jesse Thorn: Or the word I might choose would be cruel.

Ray Suarez: Alright, let’s go with cruel. If you know how many people die in the desert, if you know how many people have died in the desert trying to cross the US border, and you go through that same desert kicking over water bottles, throwing out food that’s left for people who are trying to cross—that’s not just trying to make sure that no more new illegal immigrants come. That’s something else. If you’re willing to heighten the risk that someone dies of thirst in the desert—


—that’s not just trying to enforce the law. Nobody’s gonna not come. Nobody’s gonna say, “Oh, well, that’s it. I know some guy is kicking over water bottles, so I’m not gonna try to come.” They’re gonna take their chances, and they may die. What are we doing? What are we talking about here? That’s the part of the frustration to me. I’m old enough that I’ve covered those stories of people whose bodies are found, whose bones are found, whose backpacks are found, whose boots are found in the desert, the people who are found close to death from dehydration and hyperthermia.

I know enough about them now, and I have had a long enough view of this country that I just want to say, “What are we doing?!” Maybe that’s what I should have just written for 300 pages. Just what are we doing?! It wouldn’t have sold very well, but wow. I just get a little crazy from this stuff.

Jesse Thorn: We’ll finish up with the great Ray Suarez after the break. Stick around. It’s Bullseye from and NPR.


Jordan Morris: It’s hard to explain what Jordan, Jesse, Go! is about.

Jesse Thorn: So, I had my kids take a stab at it.

Kid 1: Probably weird stuff.

Kid 2: You talk about—

Kid 3: (Interrupting.) Jobs that are annoying!

Kid 2: Mm. Business.

Kid 1: I think you probably learned your lesson after talking about business a couple of times.

Kid 3: Grownup jokes that I don’t understand and there’s no point making and—

(They giggle.)

All the podcasts go away.

Jordan Morris: Subscribe to Jordan, Jesse, Go!

Jesse Thorn: A comedy show for grownups.


Transition: Thumpy synth with light vocalizations.

Jesse Thorn: Welcome back to Bullseye. I’m Jesse Thorn. My guest is Ray Suarez. He is a veteran TV and radio journalist with almost 50 years of experience. He hosted Talk of the Nation here on NPR, among many, many other jobs. He’s also the author of several books, the latest of is We Are Home: Becoming American in the 21st Century. Let’s get back into our conversation.

I want to ask you before we go about something that isn’t related to immigration, which is public radio. So, you worked in public radio for many years, and you still occasionally contribute to this show—for which I’m very grateful. And you occasionally work on other public radio programs from time to time. When I listened to you hosting Talk of the Nation as a—I guess I was a—? As a teenager in the ’90s, 20/25 years ago, you were very conspicuously—to me at least—one of the very few people who I recognized as a person of color at NPR. Now there were certainly other people of color at NPR, and the nature of the radio is such that you don’t always know who’s a person of color and who isn’t—and the nature of NPR reporting is such, right? You don’t always know the background of the person who’s reporting. There’s not a lot of “I”.

How did you think about your role as a Puerto Rican American dude at NPR in Washington, DC, 20/25 years ago?

Ray Suarez: I thought of it, Jesse, more in class terms than in color terms. I felt that NPR, while a national treasure—and I still think that way—spoke to America with a voice that was cultured, educated, metropolitan, and upper middle class. That it was for people who already knew stuff, and they were going to find out more stuff to know. Even back then, the people who ran the place understood that there was a problem with the breadth of the audience, that a lot of people just would never come to us and never be interested in what we had to offer. So… I looked at it as trying to be regular person’s radio and talk about real stuff in a real way and also encourage people to think of themselves as people who want to know more about more stuff, not in a class-based way. That was sometimes… frustrating.


Sometimes the product felt a little precious. Sometimes I would ask, “Well, who is this for?” And I think sometimes my brothers and sisters doing the work today aren’t always asking themselves “who is this for? And are there enough of those people?” We’re in a mass medium. If you’re talking into a microphone with the notion that millions of people can be listening, is this thing that you’re making for a mass audience or not? And if it’s not, who is it for? And what do you want them—what do you want this product to be in their lives? Is it something that a smaller subset can go into a little corner and listen to by themselves? Or is it for everybody to get a vision of what that smaller slice of American life is all about? It’s a very complicated thing.

Jesse Thorn: I was at NPR West in Culver City the other day. It was the first time I’d been there in a few years, right? I was really excited to run into Tonya Mosley, the new cohost of—the relatively new cohost of Fresh Air. So excited. Such a total fan of hers. But it really drove home to me the extent to which I don’t work in a public radio newsroom. (Chuckles.) And I don’t—like, I mean, I know more public radio reporters than the average American, I’m sure, (laughing) but a lot less than most people whose job involves saying “from NPR—dot, dot, dot” into a microphone.

Ray Suarez: Fair enough.

Jesse Thorn: So, I’m wondering, as someone who has both worked in NPR newsrooms and visits public radio newsrooms on a short and medium term basis over the last decade or two for various jobs, do you think that there is merit to the suggestion that there a major problem for NPR news in particular is a lack of diversity of perspective, outside of the categories of race, gender, and sexual and gender identity?

Ray Suarez: I think they’re trying to address that right now and finding out how hard it is. I mean, you know, I think moving from the audience that got you there to the audience that’s coming down the road—because America, who’s going to be 40 years old in 2050 is very different from who was 40 years old in 2010. NPR is right now, moment by moment, demonstrating the difficulty of that. And I’m not talking about politics, and I’m not talking about all the things that Uri Berliner had in his cri de coeur. I’m talking about just making a cultural product and putting it out there, because you want people to listen to it.

I talk to be listened to. I write to be read. And NPR produces programs to be heard in all kinds of platforms. And the challenge of doing that in 2024 is entirely different from the challenge of doing it in 1984, 40 years ago, when the network was still earning its bones.

Jesse Thorn: Ray, I really appreciate your time and your hard work and—you know, one more time I’ll tell you what an inspiration to me and my career you are. So, thanks for taking the time, and thanks also for contributing to this show from time to time. I’m always so thrilled to have your help with the show. Thank you so much.

Ray Suarez: It’s great to be invited, always fun to talk to you, and thanks for having me on.

Jesse Thorn: Ray Suarez. His new book, We Are Home: Becoming American in the 21st Century is available in bookstores and at Give it a read. I’m sure you’ll hear Ray again on Bullseye soon.

Transition: Bright, chiming synth.

Jesse Thorn: That’s the end of another episode of Bullseye. Bullseye is created from the homes of me and the staff of Maximum Fun, in and around greater Los Angeles, California. Here in LA, we all piled into Richard Robey’s car, drove to LAist for a live interview with Paul Scheer that you’ll hear coming up on the show. Our thanks to the folks at LAist, KPCC in Pasadena, California, for hosting us at their Crawford Family Forum.


Our show is produced by speaking into microphones. Our senior producer is Kevin Ferguson. Our producers are Jesus Ambrosio and Richard Robey. Our production fellow at Maximum Fun, Daniel Huecias. We get booking help from Mara Davis. Our interstitial music is by DJW, also known as Dan Wally. Our theme song is called “Huddle Formation”, written and recorded by The Go! Team. Thanks to them. Thanks to their label, Memphis Industries.

Bullseye is on Instagram, @BullseyeWithJesseThorn. You can see behind the scenes pictures and videos and all kinds of neat stuff. We’re also on Twitter, YouTube, I think that’s about it. Just remember, all great radio hosts have a signature signoff.

Promo: Bullseye with Jesse Thorn is a production of and is distributed by NPR.

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About the show

Bullseye is a celebration of the best of arts and culture in public radio form. Host Jesse Thorn sifts the wheat from the chaff to bring you in-depth interviews with the most revered and revolutionary minds in our culture.

Bullseye has been featured in Time, The New York Times, GQ and McSweeney’s, which called it “the kind of show people listen to in a more perfect world.” Since April 2013, the show has been distributed by NPR.

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