Trailer Back in America August 2020

Stanislas Berteloot
Aug 30 · 9 min read
Image for post
Image for post

About Back in America

Back in America explores the American’s identity, culture, and values.

In this podcast, journalist Stan Berteloot explores American life stories from his French perspective and questions the way we understand this nation.

​Each episode explores why and how Americans do what they do. While easy and entertaining to listen to, Stan doesn’t shy away from difficult and personal questions and explores issues from different angles and perspectives. Every topic is game; politics, social issues, climate crises, gender issues, racial issues, sex, and diversity… and everything else in-between.

Provocative ideas for inquisitive and open-minded listeners.

The Trailer

These soundbites are taken from 12 episodes of Back in America, recorded between November 2019 and August 2020. They are representative of the diversity of the guests and of the topics addressed.

Here are in order of appearance in the trailer the list of interviewees.

Eric Marsh

Eric is a Black activist and social worker in Philadelphia.

We speak about being a black man in America; the impact of slavery. The impact of Trump election; consumerism.

Sheri Kurdakul

Sheri is the CEO and founder of VictimsVoice an app that provides a legally admissible way for victims to document abuse incidents.

Sheri speaks about her father’s abuse that started when she was a toddler, her recovery from post-traumatic stress disorder PTSD, and how she reclaimed her life to become who she is today.

Denis Devine

Denis Devine a 46 years old man from Fishtown, Philadelphia. Denis, an ex-journalist, is the organizer of Dad’s night a monthly meeting of men.

For the last 6 years, Denis’ Dads Night has brought together dads from his neighborhoods at different bars.

This safe space allows men to address topics related to dad-hood, dads-related cause, and non-traditional understandings of masculinity.

Elan Leibner

Elan Leibner is the chair of the Pedagogical Section Council of North America and a teacher at the Waldorf School of Princeton. Elan grew up in Israel, lived in a kibbutz, and moved to the US at the age of 23. He was a class teacher at there for 18 years, before directing the Teacher Education program at Emerson College in England.

John Lam

John Lam, is the principal dancer at the Boston Ballet.

His parents immigrated to California from Vietnam. He grew up in an underprivileged household and discovered his love for dance at the age of four.

Imani Mulrain

I met Imani at the Kneel for justice protest in Princeton.

She was one of the speakers. She is a Prospective Molecular Biology Major at Princeton University.

Gil Lopez

Gil Lopez is the founder of Smiling Hogshead Ranch an urban garden in Queens New York.

The Smiling Hogshead Ranch started 9 years ago as a “guerilla garden” on a set of abandoned railroad tracks. After many backs on forth with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Gil managed to secure a lease.

Lieutenant Colonel Bryan Price

Lieutenant Colonel Bryan Price talks to Back in America about the current racial unrest, about meritocracy, the values, culture, and identity of this country. We speak about the separation between the military and the government and of the current administration.

Lieutenant Colonel Bryan Price is known for his published research on terrorism and counterterrorism.

Mark Charles

Mark is a candidate running as an independent for president of the United States. A man who’s not white, not black but a dual citizen of The United States and The Navajo Nation.

For three years he lived with his family in a one-room hogan with no running water or electricity out in a Navajo reservation. He dreams of a nation where ‘we the people’ truly means ‘all the people’.

Richard Heinberg

Richard Heinberg is a Senior Fellow at the Post Carbon Institute and one of the world’s foremost advocates for a shift away from our current reliance on fossil fuels.

Erden Eruç

Erden Eruç, a Turkish-American adventurer, is the 1st man to do a solo a circumnavigation by human power. He has done it on a 24-foot ocean rowing boat. He & his wife Nancy Board joined Back in America to discussed the challenges and the mental health issues experienced by Erden upon return.

Louise Kekulah

In July 2020, according to the census bureau, nearly 25 million people would not be able to pay rent in the next month and almost 30 million people said they didn’t have enough to eat.

Without federal intervention, housing experts and advocates warn of an unprecedented wave of eviction in the coming month. Louise Kekulah is a woman who grew up in Liberia, Africa. Moved by herself in the US as a child. Had a baby, graduated from Rutgers, and now works as a counselor for families at risk of losing their children.

Transcript

Stanislas Berteloot 0:01

My name is Stan Berteloot. I’m a French journalist living in Princeton, New Jersey, and I’m the host of Back in America. In this podcast, I explore what makes America America. To do this, I’ve met with Black activists, abused survivors, men questioning traditional masculinity, business people, teachers gay dancer, and politician.

Eric Marsh

At no point in time in the history of this country was a black man allowed to be fully seen and fully represent himself as a man.

Stanislas Berteloot 0:36

Can you tell me a bit more about yourself now? What do you know? What kind of childhood did you have? What did your parents do? Do you have any siblings? Where did you grow up?

Sheri Kurdakul 0:46

So I’m a Navy brat. Well, I like to say I’m now I’m just a brat. But I’ve moved 36 times.

Stanislas 0:54

Wow.

Sheri Kurdakul 0:54

Yes. All pretty much along the eastern side of the United States. My father was a nuclear engineer. And while he was a brilliant man, he was also a monster. My abuse started very young when I was a toddler. I lost my virginity at age two at the hands of my father.

Stan 1:14

Whoa,

Sheri

1:14

yeah.

Denis Devine 1:17

We were all sold a lie, that holding in our feelings and not sharing them and not talking about them acquainted with manhood.

Elan Leibner 1:26

Well I love America, I think that there are very few places in the world where a young foreigner can come in be established some completely equal footing to people who grew up in the culture.

John Lam 1:42

The American to me is to make your dreams truly come true. I mean, I dreamt of being a principal dancer and being gay and married to a man and having children and that was my dream when I was little

Imani Mulrain 2:03

Like what George Floyd went through not being able to breathe, you’re suffocated. You don’t know what to do you just feel like you’re trapped. Like there’s no end to it. That’s what I feel like being a Black person every single day.

Stanislas Berteloot

Let me start with a burning question I’ve got: Is this country ready for Native American president?

Mark Charles 2:25

I understand why you would ask that question. I would actually say that that question is coming from the wrong perspective. What that question does is it centers white land-owning men, and the challenge we face in this nation is the entire nation was founded on founded for even founded by white landowning men.

Stanislas Berteloot 2:45

And you started to have an impact on your local community, which was, you know, from the start what you were trying to do not only grow food but create a sense of a community. How do you think an urban garden actually do that?

Gil Lopez 3:00

A lot of the urban communities are actually disjointed their people are brought together by music or by ideas. And they can meet at a central location that it has nothing to do with their physical location in the city where they live. With a garden, it’s often you know, you want to be close to your garden, you don’t want to have to get on the train for an hour and go to your garden on the weekend. You want to be able to go out your house and walk down and get to the garden really quickly. So community gardens actually necessitate kind of that the people actually live nearby. So we’re talking about a community of neighbors in a place where usually, a community doesn’t refer to a physical location.

Stanislas Berteloot 3:38

Can I ask you to share this letter or part of it with the audience?

Bryan C Price 3:44

Interestingly, it starts out with USMA, which is the acronym for the US Military Academy. And it says USMA teammate’s, which I think is very telling from a leadership perspective. It’s As you are aware, our country is experiencing civil unrest during these unsettling times, I want us to reach admits eradicating racism from within our ranks by treating all people with dignity and respect.

Stanislas Berteloot 4:06

What is America to you?

John Michael Greer 4:10

To me is a story.

It’s not actually a place that there’s a place that more or less, more or less corresponds to it. But America’s a story, it’s almost a myth. It’s, it’s or it’s certainly a legend. It’s a story that people tell themselves. It’s a way of looking at the world that may not actually have that much to do with, with life on the ground, but it inspires a lot of people. And for good and for America is a story. And it’s a story that can always be retold in different ways. And that’s one of the things that makes it interesting to me.

Stanislas Berteloot 4:48

What do people usually don’t understand about what you do?

Richard Heinberg 4:52

Many people I think are very much emotionally invested in business as usual and keeping things going the way They are at any cost and in therefore even to imagine that it’s possible that the world is fundamentally unsustainable and on track toward, it’s just not. So they’ll go to any length to rationalize and justify excluding the facts or ignoring them. And so that’s, that’s what I see happening.

Stanislas Berteloot 5:30

How did it feel after five years of this incredible adventure to come back home?

Erden Eruç 5:35

It was not simple. The journey had been my compass, it had been my rudder. I had applied all my resources to getting it done. I now realized that I had expectations that if I succeeded and piled on all these Guinness World Records, 14 of them registered during the journey That I would come back and have our nonprofit that we established to educate and inspire, especially children, be a vehicle to tell the story. And there was not enough coverage there was not enough engagement by the society. So I felt all of a sudden that it was all for naught and I wallowed

Stanislas Berteloot 6:29

You come from Liberia, you come from Africa. How do you experience this country being Back, but you’re not a Black American? You’re a Black from Africa. Sort of in-between culture right?

Louise 6:44

Big time. That’s a good question. I try not to allow the outside the outside world for lack of better words, intervene with the goal. I’ve set for myself. Okay, that makes sense.

Stanislas Berteloot 7:04

So you, you try to hide out all those racial tensions? Yes. Because you want to focus on your goal, which is the carrier, and yeah, and to build a good life. Welcome. You

Louise Kekulah 7:19

Yeah, moving to prison has not always been easy. I’ve had my share of racism. But I’ve worked so hard to get to where I’m at right now. I’m not gonna allow anyone to try to dictate my outcome.

Stanislas Berteloot 7:40

In this podcast, I want to understand why people do the thing they do, what drives them, and how this culture in this country is influencing them. Don’t miss upcoming episodes of Back in America subscribe now. Wherever you get your podcasts

Back in America

The Podcast

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store