Us & Them

Podcast

Us & Them is a podcast exploring 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 cultural issues.

Us & Them is a joint project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, PRX and Trey Kay Productions.

You can subscribe to Us & Them on iTunes, NPR OneRadioPublicSpotifyStitcher and beyond. 

This project has been made possible through a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the West Virginia Humanities Council, the CRC Foundation and the Daywood Foundation.

Wayne Casey

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 Martin after it was reported that in his confession, Pulliam told police, “The way I look at it, that’s another piece of trash off of the street.” 

I speak 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 York to a town in Ohio. 

American Friends Service Committee South Region

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 players are now bringing this tension out into the open.

Trey Kay

Two rivers run through Charleston, West Virginia. While most of the city is situated on the Kanawha, it’s the Elk River that demarcates the West Side from the governmental and business center of Charleston. Today, the West Side is the poorest neighborhood in Charleston.

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 in the NFL — James "Shack" Harris, the first black player in NFL history to earn a job as starting quarterback.

Kenneth King Collection, West Virginia State Archives

The "Us & Them" podcast is about seeing the same story two ways… and nothing calls out for that treatment more than coal in West Virginia.

Joni Deutsch

In most schools, you're likely to find yourself labeled as a jock, theater geek, stoner or even a loner.

But at my alma mater in West Virginia, we had a unique "Us & Them" sorting classification: you were either a “hiller” or a “creeker.”

Scott Threlkeld/AP

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, flying from Kenya to Louisiana to report on protests over the dismantling of Confederate monuments.

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. 

Sunday dinner is a big deal in Deanna McKinney’s family. Deanna’s a de facto mom to her three sisters and two brothers -- when she moved to West Virginia from New York City, they came too.  These Sunday dinners are to remind the siblings that someone’s always got their back.

Deanna’s told the story of her son’s murder so many times, that she can recount it to me -- a relative stranger with a microphone -- while she picks out cornbread mix at the grocery store. His name was Tymel and his senseless death is an experience that has defined her life and informed who she is.

Us & Them: Amazing Grace

Jul 13, 2017

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 that and become a folk song and an anthem for civil rights. But the origins of the song are just a bit more complicated...

Us & Them

Not that long ago, you could get locked up for being gay. 

Us & Them

We’re at the end of graduation season. Over the past few weeks, young grads donned in hard-earned caps and gowns, have gathered on college greens to pose for an endless number of photos with proud family members, fellow co-eds … and professors.

Us & Them, Gentrification
Us & Them

I’m standing at 3rd Avenue and 8th Street in Brooklyn, NY. Some would call this neighborhood Park Slope, but it’s really a hike from the beautiful Prospect Park, and it’s where things don’t really “slope” anymore. The neighborhood is actually called Gowanus and it’s very close to the infamous Gowanus Canal, which is recognized as one of the most polluted bodies of water in America. I lived here for a long time in the '80s and '90s.

Empathy. It’s a word we’ve heard a lot in the past year. Whether woven in the closing arguments before a jury, or from elected leaders’ appealing to the better angels within us, somebody, somewhere, is calling for empathy. Even President Barack Obama, in his first public appearance since the inauguration of Donald Trump, shared his experience of practicing empathy while running for the US Senate.

Us & Them

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.

Us & Them

"In the beginning of the so-called revolution, there was no talk of overthrowing the regime. When it started, there was some political oppression by the government, the shah. But socially, there were a lot of freedom, people could do anything, even you could criticize the government, but not the shah himself."

Us & Them

 

"I know there’s a risk. There are people who are going to hear this and they are going to change the way they feel about me. They are going to make assumptions about me. They’re going to automatically label me with certain words, the common narratives about Donald Trump [like he] hates women, hates immigrants, and so on. And they are going to assume that I am the same in that regard... and that’s a danger."

Reporting from America’s cultural divide, this is the Us & Them podcast from West Virginia Public Broadcasting.

Over the past few years, we’ve noticed that some Americans take offense when people say “Happy Holidays” as opposed to “Merry Christmas.” A here’s a clip from an episode we call “War On Christmas… Really?”

From West Virginia Public Broadcasting, this is “Us and Them,” the podcast where we tell stories from America’s cultural divides.

Us & Them

"I think the only way to have useful conversations across these intense differences is to be able to just tolerate the other person’s position, but not have an agenda about changing them."

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