Us & Them

88 EpisodesProduced by Trey Kay and WVPB

We tell stories from the fault lines that separate Americans. Peabody Award-winning public radio producer Trey Kay listens to people on both sides of the divide.

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Black Talk

February 13th, 2019

50:52

How old were you when you first learned that police may think of you as a threat?

You’ve never been told that?

Chances are you’re not African …

Cave Men, The Patriarchy & Fairytales

January 30th, 2019

29:56

Throughout history, men have been seen as the dominant gender. Why is this? Some assume the model goes all the way back to the primitive cave man. Others believe the gender pecking order was commanded by God. In this …

My Friend From Camp

January 14th, 2019

51:52

Moazzam Begg, a British citizen of Pakistani heritage, and Albert Melise, a former housing police officer in the Boston area, were unlikely to have …

War on Christmas…Really? 2018

December 18th, 2018

52:36

It’s that time of year again, when Trey’s Twitter and Facebook feeds flare up with posts about a “War on Christmas.” Every year there’s hubbub over …

Culture Clash: Back to the Border

December 5th, 2018

24:15

Back in the 1990s, Trey got into Culture Clash, a trio of Latino comedians who do social satire. He loved that they skewered public figures and poke …

EXTRA: Red State Blue State, Ep.10 -- Origins of the Epidemic

November 30th, 2018

11:26

Last year, 72,000 Americans died from drug overdoses. A lot of those deaths -- about three-fourths -- were caused by opioid medication prescribed by doctors or substances like heroin obtained on the street.

A …

The Great Textbook War

November 21st, 2018

57:33

In 1974, a fierce controversy erupted over some newly adopted school textbooks in Kanawha County, West Virginia. School buildings were hit by …

EXTRA: Red State Blue State, Ep.9 -- Make applebutter, not war

November 21st, 2018

11:51

Election season’s over, but we sure haven’t put politics behind us. Not with the holidays approaching. Some families avoid talking politics over the …

EXTRA: Red State Blue State, Ep.8 -- The Media

November 16th, 2018

10:20

Political debate in this country has become anything but civil. Who do you blame? Nearly a third of Americans surveyed by NPR blamed “the media.” In …

EXTRA: Red State Blue State, Ep.7 -- Two Views

November 9th, 2018

10:03

The midterm election results seem to deliver conflicting messages depending on where you live. In California, candidates were rewarded for opposing …

Reading Wars

November 7th, 2018

25:51

Researchers say science makes it clear that there's a direct, systematic way we should be teaching kids to read. But lots of people discount the …

EXTRA: Red State Blue State, Ep.6 -- Deana & Linda

November 2nd, 2018

13:06

When we cast a ballot, it's personal. About as personal as it gets.

That’s easy to forget when we talk about big blocks of voters, like congressional districts or entire states.

So Blue State host Chery Glaser takes …

EXTRA: Red State Blue State, Ep.5 -- Immigration

October 26th, 2018

10:24

The migrant caravan moving through Mexico is nowhere near the U.S. border, but it's smack dab in the middle of the nation’s politics. As we draw near …

"Steve"

October 25th, 2018

52:47

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, in the last 2 years, 2 million people misused prescription opioids for the first time. “Steve,” a curious kid from New Hampshire, found his mom’s Oxycodone pills …

EXTRA: Red State Blue State, Ep.4 -- Coal: Hero or Villain?

October 19th, 2018

10:03

In the past, President Trump has called climate change a hoax. Then this week, Trump told 60 Minutes that he believes the climate is changing — but …

EXTRA: Red State Blue State, Ep.3 -- Why is Joe Manchin a Democrat?

October 12th, 2018

11:24

West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin voted to confirm Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s pick for the U.S. Supreme Court. Manchin was the only Democrat in the Senate to cross party lines, and he did it in a very public …

Rural Voters: You Can't Ignore Us

October 10th, 2018

24:43

Why did rural Americans love Donald Trump so much in 2016? Some say they’ve felt left out of the economic recovery. Others say the culture is …

EXTRA: Red State Blue State, Ep.2 -- The future of the Supreme Court

October 5th, 2018

11:21

There have been times time when the U.S. Supreme Court seemed to be apart from the partisanship that’s infected other government institutions. But …

EXTRA: Red State Blue State, Ep.1

September 28th, 2018

10:09

If you really listen, we sound like two different countries: Red America and Blue America. Then again, most of us aren't listening. As we head into the midterm elections, WVPB and KCRW are teaming up to try to change …

And Now... on the Radio!

September 27th, 2018

53:39

We’re excited to announce that West Virginia Public Broadcasting has invited Us & Them to be a regular part of their radio programming. Starting …

‘Us’ Music: a Conversation with Stephan Said

September 12th, 2018

27:39

The Village Voice and Billboard Magazine have compared Stephan Said to Woody Guthrie because uses his music to bridge divides between people. He's taken his guitar to war zones in Iraq, refugee camps in the …

Shack!

August 29th, 2018

41:23

The start of the football season has once again, seen players standing up, kneeling down or not showing up for the national anthem. Some see this as a question of patriotism, others as an issue of free expression. If it …

Hillers and Creekers

August 15th, 2018

35:09

Americans tend to sort themselves into tribes that share similar culture, ideas and values. Trey recalls kids at his West Virginia high school …

The Church Lady

August 1st, 2018

30:53

Are America’s schools hostile to religion? There’s been a tussle over this issue since the early 60s, when the Supreme Court ruled that prayer and …

Gentrification (or that Kumbaya moment)

July 18th, 2018

37:33

Things have changed in the old neighborhood. There are cool little restaurants and cafes, funky little shops and a vibrant art and music scene. On …

The Elephant in the Classroom

July 4th, 2018

34:36

Hey, it’s Independence Day - the official birth of our nation! Watching fireworks on July 4th may be as close as some of us get to expressing a …

Housing in Paradise

June 21st, 2018

33:01

Places like Lake Tahoe, Nantucket and Colorado ski country are playgrounds for the wealthy. To make the playground run smoothly, there’s a dire need …

Revisiting the Grand Palace

June 6th, 2018

39:21

Trey Kay has observed how things have changed significantly for LGBTQ people where he lives in New York. But he’s not sure if anything’s changed in a more conservative place like West Virginia, where he grew up. A …

Love, the Ayatollah, and Revolution

May 23rd, 2018

28:39

America and Iran used to be close allies, but since the Iranian Revolution began in 1979, the relationship has been akin to a bad divorce. After …

Touching the Third Rail with Katharine Hayhoe

May 9th, 2018

35:34

In today’s culturally polarized society, discussing whether the planet is warming and if humans have an impact on the climate is a topic that’s often …

Heroin: N'ganga Dimitri

April 25th, 2018

35:15

As the United States works through what the American Medical Association describes as “the worst drug addiction epidemic in its history,” we revisit the story of Dimitri. This former junkie was delivered from a 27-year …

Under the Microscope: Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

April 11th, 2018

32:38

Back in 2015, we aired an episode called “Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is” that didn’t go over so well with a bunch of our listeners. We received messages saying that Trey mishandled a conversation between a …

EXTRA CUTS: My Friend From Camp

April 5th, 2018

14:02

As promised, we are posting some additional segments from our last episode, My Friend From Camp that we just couldn’t fit in. If you haven’t heard …

My Friend From Camp

March 29th, 2018

54:42

Moazzam Begg, a British citizen of Pakistani heritage, and Albert Melise, a former housing police officer in the Boston area, were unlikely to have …

A Suburb of Hell

March 15th, 2018

30:32

For a little more than a century, there’s been at least one concentration camp somewhere on earth. The fact that camps still exist and that humans can justify forcing other humans into such inhumane living conditions is …

The Black Talk

February 28th, 2018

38:51

How old were you when you first learned that police may think of you as a threat?

You’ve never been told that?

Chances are you’re not African …

The "Talk"

February 14th, 2018

43:55

Despite all the fuss about sex education in America, students get precious little of it. Jonathan Zimmerman, an education historian, tells Trey how …

Trapped on the Turnpike

February 1st, 2018

30:39

On Friday, January 22nd, 2016, I was in New York City preparing to head to West Virginia. So was a blizzard called Jonas. The blizzard that took the …

Panhandlers: To Give Or Not to Give?

January 17th, 2018

31:18

What do you do when a panhandler hits you up for some money? Whatever your answer is, what experiences or facts inform your policy for giving or not …

A New Year, A Reprise, Amazing Grace

January 4th, 2018

26:47

Everyone knows the song "Amazing Grace." People who don’t
even consider themselves spiritual or religious find it meaningful. And
while John Newton …

Feminism Is The Word

December 21st, 2017

35:53

Merriam-Webster declared that the word for 2017 is 'feminism.' The term was the most-looked-up on their online dictionary, and there were 70% more …

His Name's DJ

December 7th, 2017

34:40

We revisit the story of “Steve,” a young New Hampshire man that we met back in the spring of 2016. In our episode called “The Changing Face of …

Killing James Means

November 20th, 2017

25:58

On November 21, 2016, William Pulliam, a 62-year-old white man, shot James Means, a 15-year-old African-American boy, after the two had an argument …

The Church Lady

November 8th, 2017

29:02

Trey speaks with journalist Linda K. Wertheimer, the author of Faith Ed: Teaching About Religion In an Age of Intolerance. In her book, she has a …

Community and Cops Talking Across the Divide

October 25th, 2017

27:22

High-profile confrontations between African-Americans and police officers have fueled tensions across the country. West Virginia is NOT a place where …

A Policeman is a Person in Your Neighborhood, In Your Neighborhood, In Your Neigh-bor-hoo-ood!

October 12th, 2017

30:57

Errol Randle is a cop in Charleston, WV. He thinks police have to do more than arrest bad guys: they should also help fix struggling communities. He …

Shack! - A Civil Rights Story

September 27th, 2017

39:49

At a time when the President of the United States questions the patriotism of African American football players protesting social injustice, we present the civil rights struggle of another African American who, nearly …

Two Tales of Coal

September 12th, 2017

35:59

Like many from his state, Trey was weaned on the jingle “Coal is West Virginia!”  For this episode, we meet two West Virginians who see the mining industry in completely different ways: one who believes coal is the …

Hillers & Creekers

August 23rd, 2017

34:09

Americans tend to sort themselves into tribes that share similar culture, ideas and values. Trey recalls kids at his West Virginia high school …

Confederate Reckoning: When Will The Civil War End?

August 17th, 2017

52:37

The tragedy in Charlottesville, VA makes us wonder if it’s possible to reconcile different versions of history. This episode features two American …

Remembering New Math & Common Core

August 3rd, 2017

32:54

When conservatives and liberals fight about school curriculum, the disagreements aren’t just about science and history. Even math has been a …

Deanna, Tymel & Amarie

July 18th, 2017

27:30

Deanna McKinney’s been through one of the hardest things a parent can endure. Her teenage son was gunned down on her front porch by a kid looking to join a gang. Now she’s making meaning out of the tragedy by working to …

Amazing Grace

July 1st, 2017

25:21

Everyone knows the song. People who don’t consider themselves spiritual or religious find it meaningful. John Newton penned the hymn to connect with …

Sodomy, Stonewall & Pride

June 19th, 2017

29:46

Not that long ago, you could get locked up for being gay. A West Virginia man tells Trey about being sent to a mental institution for violating …

The Elephant in the (Class) Room: How I Survived Iraq and Vassar College

June 1st, 2017

31:41

After four years of commanding a tank in Iraq, David Carrell, a Republican from Texas, had the opportunity to study at a liberal college in the …

Gentrification: That Kumbayah Moment

May 20th, 2017

36:19

When a neighborhood transforms, newcomers can feel unwelcome, while longtime residents feel threatened. But is there a sweet spot when everyone in the community lives in harmony?

 

What I Learned About Empathy from a Textbook

April 24th, 2017

29:38

Empathy... it's a word we've heard a lot in the past year. But what is it? And do we need it? Trey explains what he learned about empathy from... a textbook!

Reasserting Femme Voice

April 5th, 2017

38:23

North Carolina repealed its notorious bathroom law, but not necessarily for the better. Transsexuals remain outside NC’s equal protection …

Love, the Ayatollah & Revolution

February 15th, 2017

27:24

Essi and Katie fell in love before the backdrop of the Iranian Revolution and growing antipathy between America and Ayatollah Khomeini. Despite many …

Coming Out of the Closet

January 25th, 2017

29:37

Where some Trump supporters have been loud and proud, others have remained in the shadows. With the new boss installed, it’s “olly olly in come …

Serious as a Heart Attack

December 14th, 2016

38:50

An Us and Them conversation turns ugly and Trey loses it. He becomes concerned about with his physical, mental and spiritual health.

Taking an Ass Whoopin’

November 15th, 2016

17:25

The 2016 presidential campaign was one of the most brutal in America’s history. Trey was stunned by the outcome and is trying understand what the …

Hello Mary Lou...

May 21st, 2016

32:49

Mary Lou Bruner, who made headlines with her wild accusations about President Obama, is running for Texas State Board of Education. If elected, …

The Changing Face of Heroin

April 26th, 2016

39:36

Something has shifted in the way our society thinks and talks about heroin addicts these days. Could it be that smack users seem more like ‘us’ and …

Heroin I - N'ganga Dimitri

March 22nd, 2016

36:37

Dimitri Mugianis has an undying love for drug addicts.  He's a former junkie who's been clean for a decade. Now he feels a calling to help other addicts -- "my people," he calls them -- by using unconventional …

Femme Voice

February 29th, 2016

46:15

Anne Kelly always felt like she was born into the wrong body. She began life as a man, but is now transitioning into a woman. She’s got the looking like a woman part down. It’s the sounding like a woman thing that’s …

Shack!

February 5th, 2016

33:02

In 1969, James “Shack” Harris became the first African American quarterback to break the color line in the NFL.

Trapped on the Turnpike

February 3rd, 2016

28:52

How 27 hours of being snow-bound on the Pennsylvania Turnpike helps Trey file a report to the Keystone State’s “Office of Lessons Learned.”

The Refugee Trail with Scott Carrier

January 17th, 2016

33:27

Veteran journalist – or “cultural anthropologist” – Scott Carrier speaks with people fleeing war-torn Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries as …

War on Christmas…Really?

December 21st, 2015

33:56

Some feel there’s an attack on this sacred holiday. Others are bothered that this religious holiday has blurred America’s church/state separation. …

Islamophobia

December 10th, 2015

26:17

With acts of terrorism in Paris and San Bernardino, some Americans are suspicious of Muslim neighbors and immigrants. Warranted fear or paranoia?

Atheism

November 19th, 2015

20:21

Would Americans vote for an atheist president? A recent poll says no way. In this episode, a social psychologist tells us why this might be. 

Enemies

November 6th, 2015

19:04

Jesus said, “Love your enemies." Today’s politicians ask God to bless America, but in the same breath, they call their political opponents …

Locked Up For Sodomy

October 15th, 2015

29:16

Not that long ago, you could get locked up for being gay. A West Virginia man tells Trey about being sent to a mental institution for violating the …

A Confederate Reckoning

October 3rd, 2015

52:37

Can we reconcile different versions of history? Two American foreign correspondents of color fly from Kenya to Louisiana to report on an unfinished …

Strangers With Cameras In Appalachia

September 17th, 2015

51:32

A recent photo essay depicting Appalachians has stirred controversy in that region.  Some locals feel violated when outsiders come into their …

New Math

September 1st, 2015

32:54

When conservatives and liberals fight about school curriculum, the disagreements aren't just about science and history. Even math has been a …

Textbook Watchdogs

August 16th, 2015

29:50

Lots of American school districts have fierce fights over what kids should learn in school, but nobody fights like Texans. And no citizens have had a …

The Church Lady

July 31st, 2015

29:14

The Supreme Court says you can't have organized prayer in public schools. But most Americans don't agree with that call -- and some people are still …

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

July 15th, 2015

38:18

Two men with strong opinions about evolution and climate change are willing to lay their money on the line.

In Dixieland, I'll Take My Stand

June 26th, 2015

37:58

The Condederate flag and the song "Dixie" -- two enduring Old South icons that make us wonder if the war ever ended.  

Sex Ed for Grown-ups

June 15th, 2015

17:00

The chair of the University of Minnesota's program for Sexual Health Education tells Trey most sexual health instruction focuses on adolescents and …

The Talk

June 1st, 2015

43:05

Despite all the fuss about sex education in America, students get precious little of it.  Jonathan Zimmerman, an education historian, tells Trey how …

To Give or Not to Give

May 15th, 2015

31:02

If you give money to panhandlers, are you helping them or hurting them? And do they really need help? People have strong opinions. We try to separate …

Revisiting the Grand Palace

May 1st, 2015

38:27

Americans' attitudes toward gay relationships have changed dramatically in a short time. Trey Kay returns to his home state of West Virginia to see how this change is playing out in a state where 53 percent of residents …

The Great Textbook War

May 1st, 2015

57:39

In 1974, Kanawha County West Virginia was an early battleground in the American culture wars. The fight focused on what children should learn in …

Marrying Gays When It Wasn't Cool - Rev. Jim Lewis

May 1st, 2015

7:38

Decades before same-sex marriage became legal, the Reverend Jim Lewis of Charleston, West Virginia sparked outrage by blessing the unions of gay men and lesbians in his church. 

Trey & Alice

May 1st, 2015

31:56

A blue state secular liberal and a red state conservative Christian have an unlikely friendship. And a slug burger.

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