Us & Them Us & Them explores all sides of the cultural issues that too often divide us. Peabody Award-winner Trey Kay brings us stories that may make you rethink your opinions on religion, sexuality, and other important issues
Us & Them

Us & Them

From West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Us & Them explores all sides of the cultural issues that too often divide us. Peabody Award-winner Trey Kay brings us stories that may make you rethink your opinions on religion, sexuality, and other important issuesMore from Us & Them »

Most Recent Episodes

Hillers and Creekers

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 shoes.

The Church Lady

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 God and religion have all but been driven out of education and secular Americans, concerned about blurring the wall between church and state, have been vigilant over any erosion of that separation. The fact is religion has been a part of America's classrooms ever since there were public schools. And before the court weighed in, some public schools welcomed preachers and priests and even rabbis into classrooms. They called it Weekday Religious Education. And here's a surprise... a version of Weekday Religious Education is still going on today.

Gentrification (or that Kumbaya moment)

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 neighborhood. On the other side you have the old guard — the people who grew up here, before it was trendy, and have been watching the place they call home rapidly dissolve all around them. For this episode of the Us & Them, we look at the evolution of neighborhoods in Brooklyn, Chicago and New Orleans and learn how all of this change is anything but simple.

The Elephant in the Classroom

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 our nation. To work through many of our differences, we have to do more than just stand next to each other on patriotic holidays. In the spirit of celebrating our country's founding and with the hope of encouraging the bridging of some of our nation's divides, we're re-releasing a piece that features a friendship between Vassar College professor, Hua Hsu and one of his more unconventional students, Dave Carrell, an Iraq War veteran.

Housing in Paradise

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. It all works well until those same workers don't have a place to lay their heads at night. For this episode, Trey speaks with a few journalists across the country, who've been reporting about a shortage of affordable living accommodations for workers in affluent vacation communities.

Revisiting the Grand Palace

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 half of West Virginians believe the Bible is the literal word of God. An even higher percentage of Mountain State residents think homosexuality should be discouraged. Trey went back home to visit some old friends, and to see what it's like to be gay in Appalachia today.

Love, the Ayatollah, and Revolution

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 political pundits and foreign policy scholars reacting to the latest chapter of the tortured relationship. But there are Iranian and American love stories that have worked out. Trey's friend Essi Zahedi risked life and limb to flee his country during the Iranian Revolution. His motivation for leaving wasn't just about politics or religion, or fear for his safety. A major reason was to be with the American woman who captured his heart.

Touching the Third Rail with Katharine Hayhoe

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 politics. Us & Them's Trey Kay speaks with a person whose professional and personal lives revolve around the highly charged topic of climate change. Katharine Hayhoe is a respected climate scientist, as well as a devoted evangelical Christian – two descriptions that some Americans don't think naturally go together.

Heroin: N'ganga Dimitri

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 treatment that seems to work miracles for people addicted to opioids. Since kicking the habit, he's been an evangelist to other junkies, spreading the good news about the wondrous drug that instantly cured him.

Under the Microscope: Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

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 former public school teacher who's an evolution skeptic. With the hope of finding a better way around the culture war aspects of science debates, we're putting that episode (and ourselves) under the microscope.

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