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 issues

Most Recent Episodes

Reconnecting With Femme Voice

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 new body. There are many physical challenges for transgender people, one that doesn't get a lot of attention is how a trans woman learns to sound like a woman. If a woman sounds like a guy, can she truly feel like a woman? We revisit Anne, three years later, to find out how she's doing and if she has found what she calls, her femme voice.

Scarlet Letters and Second Chances

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 trouble finding a job to support her two sons. Like 8% of Americans with felony conviction, Amber had to "check the box" on job applications admitting to her criminal past. The felony on her record was like a 'scarlet letter' and most employers were reluctant to hire her. Amber was committed to change, but was society willing to give her a second chance? Trey speaks with Amber and West Virginia politicians about the state's plans for helping felons get back into the workforce.

Black Talk

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 families have with their teenage kids – particularly teenage boys – about how they should conduct themselves when stopped by the police. Spoiler alert: Black parents, like any parent, want their kids to come home alive. We'll also learn from a chapter of Charleston, West Virginia's Civil Rights legacy from a minister mentored by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Cave Men, The Patriarchy & Fairytales

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 and Celeste Headlee about their "Men" series for the "Scene On Radio" podcast. In this episode we dive deep into how, when and why men invented the patriarchy, and how it hurts everyone.

My Friend From Camp

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 Administration launched the War on Terror, Begg was detained and held at the U.S. Detention Camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Melise was a Gitmo guard. You can't get much more Us & Them than that.

War on Christmas...Really? 2018

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 scene doesn't belong on government property. Christmas traditionalists feel there's an attack on this sacred holiday, while secularists seem bothered that this religious holiday has a privileged place in a country known for its separation of church and state. For this (mostly fun) episode, Trey and historian Adam Laats ponder the nature of this so-called "war."

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.

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