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

Culture Clash: Back to the Border

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 spectrum they're on. Their critically acclaimed work in the 90s had to do with tension along the U.S.-Mexico border. Recently, they've been reviving and updating their pieces because – if you haven't heard – news from the border is pretty relevant these days.

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

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 West Virginia. For several years, the state has led the nation in per-capita opioid-related deaths. In this episode, hosts Trey Kay and Chery Glaser talk about the origins of the Appalachian drug epidemic. They're joined by Los Angeles crime reporter Sam Quinones, the author of Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic, and by Ian Kessinger, a former addict who now runs a recovery clinic in Elkins, West Virginia.

The Great Textbook War

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 mines were shut down by protesting miners. Textbook supporters thought they would introduce students to new ideas about literature and multi-culturalism. Opponents felt the books undermined traditional American values.

EXTRA: Red State Blue State, Ep.9 — Applebutter

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 with deep political divisions — but they also have a trick for keeping it friendly.

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

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 State host Chery Glaser talks with a West Coast journalist about how journalists should respond.

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

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 Manchin was returned to office while siding with the president on key issues. What's going on? Trey talks with Cherry Glazer of KCRW in California in the latest episode of "Red State Blue State," our weekly chat between Trump Country and the Blue Bubble.

Reading Wars

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 if they're read to and exposed to lots of books. This is more of an angry argument than a polite debate. It's been raging for years. And there's a lot at stake. Millions of American adults are not proficient readers. Trey talks with Emily Hanford about her radio documentary, "Hard Words."

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

Americans go to the polls on November 6, and the issues motivating them are vast and personal. It's easy to forget that when we talk about how this race or that race could sway control of Congress. So, for this installment, Chery Glaser checks in to see how Red State and Blue State voters are feeling.

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

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 Bubble" and red-state West Virginians at a rally with Vice President Mike Pence.

"Steve"

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 way they made him feel. Before long, he wanted to see what the big deal was with heroin, and doubted that he'd become addicted. As it turns out, he got hooked on his first try. In this episode, we'll hear Steve's struggle to stay clean and how his addiction became a family affair. We'll also hear his parents speak openly—at times, brutally--about the limitations of "being there" for an addict.

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