Us & Them

Us & Them

usandthempodcast.com
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.


Can a White Supremacist Alter Her DNA of Hate?
Sep 9 • 38 min
Black and Brown people in America continue to die at the hands of police officers and that’s created a season of hate. George Floyd’s killing ignited a sense of racial outrage that has spread around the world. U.S. cities continue to see protests against…
Forced Apart: The ‘Delicate and Crazy Dance’ of American Health Care
Aug 27 • 52 min
The coronavirus confronts every aspect of our society - with our health care systems front and center in the crosshairs. When hospitals canceled nonessential medical procedures at the beginning of the pandemic, it created an economic free fall. U.S.…
The Vaccination Divide
Aug 5 • 19 min
The race is on to develop a vaccination that can bring an end to the coronavirus pandemic. Researchers around the world are working on an immunization to slow or stop the outbreak. As that effort ramps up, there’s clear evidence that childhood vaccination…
Recovery and Resiliency in Kermit
Jul 22 • 51 min
At the peak of the opioid crisis, drug companies sent 12 million hydrocodone pills to Kermit, West Virginia - a town of about 350 people. Cars would line up at the one pharmacy with people waiting to pick up pain pills. The so-called pain clinics of a…
Forced Apart: Quarantine and the Danger of Eating Disorders
Jul 8 • 26 min
COVID-19 forces big changes in our society and for our medical systems. When patients with mental health conditions are forced to stay at home isolated, the resulting social distancing can be particularly dangerous. Counselors and therapists are just…
Us & Them: Abortion Divides
Jul 1 • 53 min
Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the liberal wing of the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down a Louisiana abortion law. The narrow decision may be a relief to abortion rights supporters, but political watchers speculate the ruling could ignite voters in…
Forced Apart: Shadow Pandemic
Jun 25 • 52 min
COVID-19 has forced millions to stay at home for months. Isolation can feed anxiety and depression and now tens of millions of Americans say that potent combination threatens their mental health. Calls to help centers and suicide hotlines are up in what…
The Black Talk
Jun 19 • 40 min
Much of the recent work of our Us & Them team has focused on our day-to-day experience as we live through a global pandemic. But we need to shine our light on the deadly consequences of police brutality. Racial inequality is America’s most toxic “us and…
COVID-19 Takes A Toll On Our Food Supply
Jun 10 • 32 min
The coronavirus highlights many of our vulnerabilities, including the system we use to get food from the farm to the table. Lately, the pandemic has forced U.S. farmers to face the unthinkable. They plowed under perfectly good vegetables when schools and…
Coronavirus Czar Says Pandemic is a Stress Test for WV Health Care
Jun 3 • 12 min
It’s about 10 weeks since the coronavirus pandemic shut down much of the country, including West Virginia. While state officials are now reopening businesses, the pandemic is far from over. Seventy-eight West Virginians have died due to COVID-19. 250,000…
Forced Apart: Same Pandemic, Unequal Education
May 28 • 51 min
West Virginia’s 2020 school year, from kindergarten through college, is wrapping up unlike any other. In recent years, Mountain State communities have been devastated by man-made crises and natural disasters, but nothing has affected the state’s education…
The Legacy of the Upper Big Branch Disaster
May 13 • 34 min
Ten years ago, the Upper Big Branch Mine exploded in West Virginia. 29 men died and an investigation uncovered that a legacy of overlooked safety measures contributed to the disaster. A new play called “Coal Country” focuses on the stories of the men and…
Nurse Eva Travels to a COVID-19 Front Line
Apr 30 • 17 min
The coronavirus pandemic prompts many reactions from people. Some people can be overwhelmed with fear and anxiety. Others step up to help where they can. U&T host Trey Kay splits his time living in West Virginia and New York. A few weeks ago, he got a…
Forced Apart: A Virus Creates New Divides
Apr 23 • 52 min
A global public health crisis in the form of an invisible virus, now officially divides us from each other. We’ve learned to call it ‘social distancing.’ But the coronavirus is creating or reopening many layers between us and them. There are divides…
The Connector
Apr 8 • 23 min
In many cities and towns, there are people in charge, and there are people who get things done. Joe Slack is an instigator for community change in West Virginia’s Upper Kanawha Valley. He sees the needs in his region, one that’s been hit hard by one…
Upriver Battle: Two Mayors Join Forces to Revive Their Rural Small Towns Against All Odds
Mar 26 • 51 min
Appalachia is a unique region of the country. Its namesake mountain range boasts a tangle of thick forests where the economy has relied on forestry, manufacturing and mining for jobs. The Kanawha River winds through West Virginia upstream from Charleston…
Without A Home Can You Be A Good Neighbor?
Mar 11 • 29 min
Homelessness is one of the things that divides us in America. It’s an Us & Them issue that can spring from, and inform our views on other social topics. The number of homeless people nationally has dropped in the past decade, but there was an increase…
Grandfamilies of the Opioid Crisis
Feb 27 • 51 min
Chemical addictions and the opioid crisis have divided millions of U.S. families. An addicted parent can abandon responsibilities to their children. When a grandparent steps in to help, it creates a new kind of family structure. Some call it a…
Diversity Divide
Feb 12 • 26 min
There are now more students of color at some universities and colleges in the U.S. In the past decade at Western Illinois University, the non-white student population nearly tripled to one-third of the enrollment. The change helped fill classrooms and…
Should History Be Set In Stone?
Jan 23 • 52 min
When we learn our history, we see things that reflect our past. Paintings of famous battles and statues of men who were heroes to some. But how we interpret our legacy changes. Time can warp our notion of a once righteous cause. There are examples around…
Indian Country Relocation: A One-way Ticket to Poverty
Jan 8 • 28 min
North America’s early experiences with Us & Them come from our history with indigineous people. In the 19th century, a nascent U.S. government used treaties with Native tribes and nations to take land and resources. Those treaties relocated Native people…
Music with a Message
Dec 26, 2019 • 51 min
Music can entertain and inspire, and it can be a path into another person’s world. On this episode, two different musicians with roots in Appalachia make music that spans the globe. Some of it carries a political message. One man takes his music to places…
We The Purple
Dec 11, 2019 • 31 min
Democracy may need a reboot, or a kickstart. Pick your favorite term, but the fact is, our system of government requires our participation. When we lose trust, it suffers. “We the Purple” is a campaign designed to encourage engagement. Its partners will…
Us & Them: Abortion Divides
Nov 27, 2019 • 52 min
Do you disagree with any of your close friends or family members about abortion? When’s the last time you actually talked about it? For many of us, the abortion debate defines Us & Them. Sometimes, it’s better to avoid the conflicts. State laws now…
The Bond Buster Says ‘No’ to Public Schools
Nov 6, 2019 • 31 min
Paying taxes is one of those things we just can’t avoid… except for the local tax measures we get to vote on. One of the best examples is school spending. When local school officials ask for additional money for new academic programs or school buildings,…
Three Tales of Coal
Oct 23, 2019 • 51 min
For decades, coal was king in West Virginia. It paid good wages, paid the bills for many local services through taxes, and kept small towns alive. But more of our nation’s electricity is starting to come from other sources like wind and solar power. Coal…
Losing It All: Natural Disasters and America’s Immigrant Worker
Oct 9, 2019 • 24 min
We’re in the midst of the 2019 hurricane season, and people in the Bahamas are still digging out from Hurricane Dorian. In 2018 hurricane Florence hit the coast of North Carolina, which left 51 people dead and caused $24 billion in damage in the state.…
Us & Them Update: A Surprising Ending to Justice for James Means
Oct 5, 2019 • 7 min
For the past three years, the Us & Them team has tracked the case of James Means since the 15-year-old boy was shot and killed by 62-year-old William Pulliam on the East End of Charleston, W.Va. The case got national attention partly because Pulliam is…
Faith in Science
Sep 26, 2019 • 52 min
Science and faith can offer a different perspective of the world… of life… and of what we believe. When you mix in a third ingredient - politics - the dynamic can become toxic. Whether you consider evolution versus creationism or the causes of climate…
Update: Killer of James Means Changes His Mind…Again.
Sep 21, 2019 • 3 min
The Us & Them team has tracked the case of James Means — a 15-year-old boy who was shot and killed in Charleston, WV by William Pulliam back in November 2016. The case got national attention partly because Pulliam is white and Means was black. It was one…
Update: Farm Wars
Sep 11, 2019 • 25 min
Last spring, we put out an episode called “Farm Wars.” It was about Arkansas farmers’ never-ending battles with “pigweed” or as some call it “Satan’s Weed.” It’s incredibly hard to get rid of. There’s a controversy in that state over a herbicide called…
Update: Killer of James Means Seeks to Revoke Plea
Aug 14, 2019 • 4 min
For nearly three years, the Us & Them team has tracked the case of James Means - a 15-year-old boy who was shot and killed in Charleston, WV, by William Pulliam, who was 62 years old at the time. The case got national attention partly because Pulliam is…
What, Us Worry?: Life After MAD
Aug 9, 2019 • 23 min
MAD Magazine, once the touchstone of American satire and snark, is winding down its publication after 67 years. Trey says, as a kid, MAD’s adolescent-focused, subversive content helped him connect with his inner “wise ass.” It made him feel smarter and…
Update: Justice for James Means
Aug 7, 2019 • 7 min
For nearly three years, the Us & Them team has followed the James Means’ case - a 15-year-old boy who was shot and killed in Charleston, WV, by William Pulliam, who was 62 years old at the time. The case got national attention partly because Pulliam is…
My Friend From Camp
Jul 25, 2019 • 51 min
Two men, one a British citizen of Pakistani heritage, and the other a former housing police officer in the Boston area, were unlikely to meet, until the terror attacks of September 11th, 2001. But after the Bush Administration launched the War on Terror,…
Immigrant ‘Concentration Camps’ on the Southern Border?
Jul 10, 2019 • 31 min
U.S. immigration policies are very much in the spotlight recently with reports on conditions at some of the southern border detention camps and fresh concerns about children being held apart from their parents. Recently, Congresswoman Alexandria…
Pride in the Mountain State
Jun 26, 2019 • 51 min
June is Gay Pride month across the U.S. and around the world. It’s a celebration of increased social acceptance and expanded legal rights. But as Trey has learned, despite that, there are still attitudes and even words that continue to cause pain. An Us &…
Reckoning with Sexual Assault: Righting a Wrong
Jun 13, 2019 • 28 min
Two college freshman spend a night together. There’s inexperience, miscommunication and things go wrong — really wrong. One of them calls what happened sexual assault, the other calls it rape. But together, they’ve found a remarkable way to recover, heal…
Farm Wars
May 22, 2019 • 51 min
It’s a tough time to be a soybean farmer in the U.S. Soybeans are a $40 billion business in America, but crop prices plummeted last year because of the trade war between the U.S. and China. That has many farmers taking steps to boost their crop yields and…
Still Waiting For Justice
May 8, 2019 • 17 min
Two and a half years ago, an African-American teen named James Means was shot and killed in Charleston, WV. An older white man, William Pullman faces first-degree murder charges. The trial was scheduled for this week, but instead, the Means family learned…
Waiting for Justice
Apr 24, 2019 • 50 min
In Charleston, WV back in November 2016, William Pulliam, a 62-year-old white man, shot and killed James Means, a 15-year-old African-American boy. The case made national headlines. Reports say during his confession, Pulliam told police, “The way I look…
Opioid Recovery in Appalachia’s Ground Zero
Apr 11, 2019 • 33 min
America has a drug addiction crisis. Recovery could take decades. Opioid addiction has hit Appalachia harder than any region in the nation. This episode, Trey talks to Caitlin Esch, a reporter for The Uncertain Hour podcast produced by APM’s Marketplace.…
States Look to Appalachia for Vaccination Laws
Mar 29, 2019 • 30 min
Measles cases have spiked in the first quarter of 2019 with outbreaks in ten states. Vaccinations prevent many communicable diseases, but measles is back. Epidemiologists believe it’s because some parents do not immunize their children. As a result, the…
Reconnecting With Femme Voice
Mar 13, 2019 • 52 min
In the winter of 2016, we told the story of Anne Kelly Skinner, a Charleston, WV lawyer, who was transitioning from male to female. As Anne’s body became less dude-like and more womanly, she was pleased. However, she worried her voice wouldn’t match her…
Scarlet Letters and Second Chances
Feb 27, 2019 • 28 min
As a West Virginia teenager, Amber Miller dropped out of school, took drugs and robbed homes. She wound up on the wrong side of the law and served time for a felony. In a youth correction center, she turned her life around, but after her release, had…
Black Talk
Feb 13, 2019 • 50 min
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 American. In this episode, Trey Kay examines “The Black Talk,” which is the sober conversation that many black…
Cave Men, The Patriarchy & Fairytales
Jan 30, 2019 • 29 min
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 episode, Trey speaks with John Biewen…
My Friend From Camp
Jan 14, 2019 • 51 min
Moazzam Begg, a British citizen of Pakistani heritage, and Albert Melise, a former housing police officer in the Boston area, were unlikely to have their life stories intersect and become friends; but then September 11 happened. After the Bush…
War on Christmas…Really? 2018
Dec 18, 2018 • 52 min
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 how saying “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” is TOO politically correct, or that a nativity…
Culture Clash: Back to the Border
Dec 5, 2018 • 24 min
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 sacred cows. Culture Clash enjoys making the audience squirm, no matter what part of the political…
EXTRA: Red State Blue State, Ep.10 — Origins of the Epidemic
Nov 30, 2018 • 11 min
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 disproportionate number of the dead are from…
The Great Textbook War
Nov 21, 2018 • 57 min
In 1974, a fierce controversy erupted over some newly adopted school textbooks in Kanawha County, West Virginia. School buildings were hit by dynamite and Molotov cocktails, buses were riddled with bullets, journalists were beaten and surrounding coal…
EXTRA: Red State Blue State, Ep.9 — Make applebutter, not war
Nov 20, 2018 • 11 min
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 turkey, but other family gatherings descend into political fights. Trey takes us on a visit to a family…
EXTRA: Red State Blue State, Ep.8 — The Media
Nov 16, 2018 • 10 min
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 this episode, Red State host Trey Kay goes to a Trump rally to see how reporters are treated, and Blue…
EXTRA: Red State Blue State, Ep.7 — Two Views
Nov 9, 2018 • 10 min
The midterm election results seem to deliver conflicting messages depending on where you live. In California, candidates were rewarded for opposing President Trump — critics like California’s new Gov. Gavin Newsom won big. But in West Virginia, Sen. Joe…
Reading Wars
Nov 7, 2018 • 25 min
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 science of reading. They say teaching kids to sound out words is boring, and kids will learn to read naturally…
EXTRA: Red State Blue State, Ep.6 — Deana & Linda
Nov 2, 2018 • 13 min
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 it to the personal level and talks with…
EXTRA: Red State Blue State, Ep.5 — Immigration
Oct 26, 2018 • 10 min
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 the midterm election, this week’s episode brings us views on immigration from Angelenos in the “Blue…
“Steve”
Oct 24, 2018 • 52 min
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 in the medicine cabinet and liked the…
EXTRA: Red State Blue State, Ep.4 — Coal: Hero or Villain?
Oct 19, 2018 • 10 min
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 that the change isn’t caused by humans, and it will probably change back. Trump said the economy is more…
EXTRA: Red State Blue State, Ep.3 — Why is Joe Manchin a Democrat?
Oct 12, 2018 • 11 min
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 way. Manchin’s vote didn’t surprise…
Rural Voters: You Can’t Ignore Us
Oct 10, 2018 • 24 min
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 changing in ways that makes rural people feel uncomfortable. Others say it was simply because Trump made rural…
EXTRA: Red State Blue State, Ep.2 — The future of the Supreme Court
Oct 5, 2018 • 11 min
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 President Trump’s choice of Kavanaugh — and the sexual assault accusations against the him -— have sent…
EXTRA: Red State Blue State, Ep.1
Sep 28, 2018 • 10 min
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 that. “Red State, Blue State” is a…
And Now… on the Radio!
Sep 27, 2018 • 53 min
We’re excited to announce that West Virginia Public Broadcasting has invited Us & Them to be a regular part of their radio programming. Starting this week, West Virginia audiences are going to hear stories about America’s culture divides — many that our…
‘Us’ Music: a Conversation with Stephan Said
Sep 12, 2018 • 27 min
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 Mediterranean and to ravaged Houston after…
Shack!
Aug 29, 2018 • 41 min
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 seems football has, perhaps…
Hillers and Creekers
Aug 15, 2018 • 35 min
Americans tend to sort themselves into tribes that share similar culture, ideas and values. Trey recalls kids at his West Virginia high school sorting themselves into different camps, and how the way one dressed was often a defining factor, right down to…
The Church Lady
Aug 1, 2018 • 30 min
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 school-sponsored Bible reading were unconstitutional. Since then, evangelical Christians have claimed that…
Gentrification (or that Kumbaya moment)
Jul 18, 2018 • 37 min
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 one side, you have the newcomers— people who came here to open new businesses and live in this trendy…
The Elephant in the Classroom
Jul 4, 2018 • 34 min
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 shared love of country with fellow citizens. As you very well know, there is a great deal of polarization in…
Housing in Paradise
Jun 20, 2018 • 33 min
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 for people to cook food, bus tables, clean rooms, mow lawns, manicure golf courses and operate ski lifts.…
Revisiting the Grand Palace
Jun 6, 2018 • 39 min
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 recent Pew survey shows that more than…
Love, the Ayatollah, and Revolution
May 23, 2018 • 28 min
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 President Trump’s announcement to pull the U.S. out of the Iran Nuclear Deal, cable news has been abuzz with…
Touching the Third Rail with Katharine Hayhoe
May 9, 2018 • 35 min
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 avoided. Why? Because speaking about it can be akin to touching the “third rail” of religion and…
Heroin: N’ganga Dimitri
Apr 25, 2018 • 35 min
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 heroin addiction by a controversial…
Under the Microscope: Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
Apr 11, 2018 • 32 min
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 physicist who defends climate science and a…
EXTRA CUTS: My Friend From Camp
Apr 5, 2018 • 14 min
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 that episode yet, by all means, head over to your Us and Them feed and have a listen to that one first.…
My Friend From Camp
Mar 29, 2018 • 54 min
Moazzam Begg, a British citizen of Pakistani heritage, and Albert Melise, a former housing police officer in the Boston area, were unlikely to have their life stories intersect and become friends; but then September 11 happened. After the Bush…
A Suburb of Hell
Mar 15, 2018 • 30 min
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 “us and them” dynamic taken to…
The Black Talk
Feb 28, 2018 • 38 min
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 American. In this episode, Trey Kay examines “The Black Talk,” which is the sober conversation that many black…
The “Talk”
Feb 14, 2018 • 43 min
Despite all the fuss about sex education in America, students get precious little of it. Jonathan Zimmerman, an education historian, tells Trey how Americans spend more time arguing about what kids should learn about human sexuality in schools than they…
Trapped on the Turnpike
Jan 31, 2018 • 30 min
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 East Coast by storm hadn’t hit by the time I rolled into in Harrisburg, PA. I was assured by…
Panhandlers: To Give Or Not to Give?
Jan 17, 2018 • 31 min
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 giving? People have strong opinions on this. With this episode we try to separate the facts, suppositions…
A New Year, A Reprise, Amazing Grace
Jan 3, 2018 • 26 min
Everyone knows the song “Amazing Grace.” People who don’t even consider themselves spiritual or religious find it meaningful. And while John Newton penned the hymn to connect with Christians, it has transcended religion and become a folk song and an…
Feminism Is The Word
Dec 20, 2017 • 35 min
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 searches for the word this year than in 2016. Trey feels this couldn’t be more timely because this year,…
His Name’s DJ
Dec 6, 2017 • 34 min
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 Heroin,” we followed him and his father as he reported for the last visit of a court ordered drug rehab program.…
Killing James Means
Nov 20, 2017 • 25 min
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 outside of a Dollar General Store in Charleston, WV. The shooting conjured memories of the death of Trayvon…
The Church Lady
Nov 8, 2017 • 29 min
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 chapter titled “The Church Lady,” where she recounts her experience of her family moving from western New…
Community and Cops Talking Across the Divide
Oct 25, 2017 • 27 min
High-profile confrontations between African-Americans and police officers have fueled tensions across the country. West Virginia is NOT a place where people are comfortable talking about these things. But in Trey’s hometown of Charleston, some of the key…
A Policeman is a Person in Your Neighborhood, In Your Neighborhood, In Your Neigh-bor-hoo-ood!
Oct 12, 2017 • 30 min
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 champions a program that encourages officers to resettle among Charleston’s high crime neighborhoods.…
Shack! - A Civil Rights Story
Sep 27, 2017 • 39 min
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 50 years ago, broke a color barrier…
Two Tales of Coal
Sep 12, 2017 • 35 min
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 lifeblood of the state’s workers; the…
Hillers & Creekers!
Aug 23, 2017 • 34 min
Americans tend to sort themselves into tribes that share similar culture, ideas and values. Trey recalls kids at his West Virginia high school sorting themselves into different camps and how one dressed was a defining factor, right down to the shoes.
Confederate Reckoning: When Will The Civil War End?
Aug 16, 2017 • 52 min
The tragedy in Charlottesville, VA makes us wonder if it’s possible to reconcile different versions of history. This episode features two American foreign correspondents of color who’ve sought to answer this quandary. They fly from Kenya to New Orleans to…
Remembering New Math & Common Core
Aug 3, 2017 • 32 min
When conservatives and liberals fight about school curriculum, the disagreements aren’t just about science and history. Even math has been a battleground in the culture wars. Also, Common Core was a hot button issue during the 2016 Presidential Campaign.…
Deanna, Tymel & Amarie
Jul 17, 2017 • 27 min
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 ensure a better community for the…
Amazing Grace
Jun 30, 2017 • 25 min
Everyone knows the song. People who don’t consider themselves spiritual or religious find it meaningful. John Newton penned the hymn to connect with Christians, but it has transcended that and become a folk song and an anthem for civil rights. The origins…
Sodomy, Stonewall & Pride
Jun 19, 2017 • 29 min
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 sodomy laws. While standing in front of the historic Stonewall Inn in NY’s Greenwich Village, gay activist…
The Elephant in the (Class) Room: How I Survived Iraq and Vassar College
May 31, 2017 • 31 min
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 northeast. He tells Trey what he’s observed about Red and Blue America.
Gentrification: That Kumbayah Moment
May 19, 2017 • 36 min
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
Apr 24, 2017 • 29 min
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
Apr 4, 2017 • 38 min
North Carolina repealed its notorious bathroom law, but not necessarily for the better. Transsexuals remain outside NC’s equal protection laws—whether in the bathroom or in the workplace. All of this has got me thinking about my friend Anne Kelly.
Love, the Ayatollah & Revolution
Feb 14, 2017 • 27 min
Essi and Katie fell in love before the backdrop of the Iranian Revolution and growing antipathy between America and Ayatollah Khomeini. Despite many fantastic twists and dangerous turns, their love has triumphed over archenemies’ hatred.
Coming Out of the Closet
Jan 24, 2017 • 29 min
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 free!” Trey speaks with Trump voters about their hopes, dreams and expectations.
Serious as a Heart Attack
Dec 14, 2016 • 38 min
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’
Nov 15, 2016 • 17 min
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 whole thing means. Are truth and bitter reality the new Us? Have our news sources become Them?
Hello Mary Lou…
May 21, 2016 • 32 min
Mary Lou Bruner, who made headlines with her wild accusations about President Obama, is running for Texas State Board of Education. If elected, she’ll be responsible for guiding the nation’s second largest public school system. Could she influence the…
The Changing Face of Heroin
Apr 26, 2016 • 39 min
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 less like ‘them’?
Heroin I - N’ganga Dimitri
Mar 22, 2016 • 36 min
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 “shamanistic” treatment methods.
Femme Voice
Feb 28, 2016 • 46 min
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 harder than she expected.
Shack!
Feb 5, 2016 • 33 min
In 1969, James “Shack” Harris became the first African American quarterback to break the color line in the NFL.
Trapped on the Turnpike
Feb 3, 2016 • 28 min
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
Jan 17, 2016 • 33 min
Veteran journalist – or “cultural anthropologist” – Scott Carrier speaks with people fleeing war-torn Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries as they seek refuge in Europe.
War on Christmas…Really?
Dec 21, 2015 • 33 min
Some feel there’s an attack on this sacred holiday. Others are bothered that this religious holiday has blurred America’s church/state separation. But is this really a war?
Islamophobia
Dec 9, 2015 • 26 min
With acts of terrorism in Paris and San Bernardino, some Americans are suspicious of Muslim neighbors and immigrants. Warranted fear or paranoia?
Atheism
Nov 19, 2015 • 20 min
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
Nov 6, 2015 • 19 min
Jesus said, “Love your enemies.” Today’s politicians ask God to bless America, but in the same breath, they call their political opponents “enemies.” Labels help us organize the world along fault lines, but is this the best policy? In a polarized America,…
Locked Up For Sodomy
Oct 15, 2015 • 29 min
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 state’s sodomy laws.
A Confederate Reckoning
Oct 3, 2015 • 52 min
Can we reconcile different versions of history? Two American foreign correspondents of color fly from Kenya to Louisiana to report on an unfinished civil war back home.
Strangers With Cameras In Appalachia
Sep 17, 2015 • 51 min
A recent photo essay depicting Appalachians has stirred controversy in that region. Some locals feel violated when outsiders come into their communities snapping photos. Are these shutterbugs depicting reality or reinforcing stereotypes?
New Math
Sep 1, 2015 • 32 min
When conservatives and liberals fight about school curriculum, the disagreements aren’t just about science and history. Even math has been a battleground in the culture wars. Trey talks with historian Christopher Phillips.
Textbook Watchdogs
Aug 16, 2015 • 29 min
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 bigger impact on what goes into public school textbooks than Mel and Norma Gabler.
The Church Lady
Jul 31, 2015 • 29 min
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 finding ways to make sure public school children have a chance to hear about God.
Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
Jul 15, 2015 • 38 min
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
Jun 25, 2015 • 37 min
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
Jun 15, 2015 • 17 min
The chair of the University of Minnesota’s program for Sexual Health Education tells Trey most sexual health instruction focuses on adolescents and that maybe adults might also need some instruction.
The Talk
Jun 1, 2015 • 43 min
Despite all the fuss about sex education in America, students get precious little of it. Jonathan Zimmerman, an education historian, tells Trey how Americans spend more time arguing about what kids should learn about human sexuality in schools than they…
To Give or Not to Give
May 15, 2015 • 31 min
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 the facts from the ideology.
Revisiting the Grand Palace
May 1, 2015 • 38 min
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 believe the Bible is the literal…
The Great Textbook War
May 1, 2015 • 57 min
In 1974, Kanawha County West Virginia was an early battleground in the American culture wars. The fight focused on what children should learn in school. This documentary won a Peabody Award and a DuPont Silver Baton in 2009.
Marrying Gays When It Wasn’t Cool - Rev. Jim Lewis
May 1, 2015 • 7 min
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
Apr 30, 2015 • 31 min
A blue state secular liberal and a red state conservative Christian have an unlikely friendship. And a slug burger.