Back in America

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February 27, 2020  

Trailer - Back in America - A podcast questioning our understanding of America


Hi, 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, abuse survivors, men questioning traditional masculinity, business people, teachers, gay dancers, and politicians

"Well I love America, I think they're very few places in the world. Where are young foreigners can come And be established on a completely equal footing to people who grow up in the culture"

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

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

"I was 12. We were also expected, just as we would have if we had been in Mexico is to help contribute to the family and so we went to work in the fields."

"We were all sold a lie that holding in our feelings and not sharing them not talking about them equated with manhood"

"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."

"This young lady. Fade in a meeting which was right on the money. You always talk to us about living in the past or can we get away from the past? How can we get away from the past when the past presents itself in the present?"

In this podcast, I want to understand why people do the things they do. What drives them? And how this culture and this country, is influencing them. Don't miss upcoming episodes of Back in America.

Subscribe now wherever you get your podcast!


February 20, 2020  

Carole Jury - ‘La femme de…’ se réinvente aux Etats-Unis et devient artiste peintre | In French


Je suis Stan Berteloot et vous écoutez Back in America, un podcast où j’explore la société américaine à travers des parcours de vie hors du commun !

Cette interview est pour la première fois en français.

Mon invitée est la peintre française Carole Jury. Carole vit à Princeton dans le New Jersey depuis cinq ans. Elle est à l’origine du groupement « Women Artists I From France to USA ». Hyper active, et de plus en plus sollicitée, elle expose aux quatre coins des Etats-Unis, en Europe et à Dubaï.

La peinture a toujours eu une place centrale dans la vie de cette femme de 44 ans, mais l’art restait un hobby, une passion jusqu’à son installation à Princeton, dans le New Jersey avec son mari Kamel et ses trois enfants.

Avant de signer sa lettre de démission, Carole était responsable de la communication d’une grande entreprise de l’industrie chimique et pour elle l’idée de rester à la maison, loin de ses racines et sans sa propre identité, était une perspective inédite et difficile.

Lorsque nous avons préparé cet entretien, Carole m’a dit, “Je suis devenue ‘la femme de mon mari’. Ne plus avoir de profession c’était comme perdre mon identité.”

En effet d’après le baromètre seuls 14% des professionnelles envoyées à l’étranger sont des femmes, qui partent en solo pour un tiers d’entre elles. En conséquence, dans 91% des cas, le conjoint d’expatrié est une femme, qui met très souvent sa carrière entre parenthèses.
Par ailleurs, malgré un niveau d’études élevé (un bac + 4 et trois langues parlées dans 72% des cas), seule la moitié des conjoints qui veulent travailler – ils sont 8 sur 10 – trouve un emploi sur place.

C’est donc dans ce contexte que Carole devient consultante en communication pour des entreprises françaises installées aux Etats-Unis.

Mais la peinture ne te quitte pas et, un an après son arrivée, elle s’y consacre à temps plein.

Sa recommandation de livre :

L'amie prodigieuse, Elena Ferrante


Sa présence en ligne :

Le site web de Carole Jury





February 13, 2020  

Princeton University Janitor & Mailman Tommy Parker Talks of Reparations and Civil Rights


Today I am speaking with someone who wants to be a voice for the voiceless.

Someone passionate about civil justice. I am talking with Thomas Parker or Tommy, as he likes to be called.
Tommy is 67. He was hired as a janitor in 1979 by Princeton University and joined the Print and Mail Services of the University in 1983.

In 2011 The University recognized your social engagement with the Martin Luther King Day Journey Award, for Lifetime Service for your role as an advocate and adviser to co-workers and your dedication to community service.
Indeed you work hard both at the university and in the community where you lead numerous organizations to help the underprivileged.

In the early nineties, you organized, with the Labor Relations Director Fred Clarke the first Labor & Management Committee on campus to help with day to day processes of contract enforcement and mutual considerations for bargaining unit protection under the collective bargaining agreement. Today, you are the president of Princeton’s Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 175.

Freedom Riders

In this interview, Tommy talks about the Freedom Riders who were civil rights activists who rode interstate buses into the segregated southern US in 1961 and after to challenge the non-enforcement of the Supreme Court decisions which ruled that segregated public buses were unconstitutional. The Southern states had ignored the rulings and the federal government did nothing to enforce them. The first Freedom Ride left Washington, D.C. on May 4, 1961.

Reparations for Slavery

I ask Tommy about what he thinks of Reparations to the African American and he mentions the 40 acres and a mule, which is part of Special Field Orders No. 15, a post-Civil War promise proclaimed by Union General William Tecumseh Sherman on January 16, 1865, to allot family units, including freed people, a plot of land no larger than 40 acres (16 ha). However, according to Wikipedia, Freed people widely expected to legally claim 40 acres of land (a quarter-quarter section) and a mule after the end of the war. Some freedmen took advantage of the order and took initiatives to acquire land plots along a strip of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida coasts. However, Lincoln's successor, President Andrew Johnson explicitly reversed and annulled proclamations such as Special Field Orders No. 15 and the Freedmen's Bureau Act.


Thomas Parker books suggestions are:

Man Child in the Promised Land
by Claude Brown

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
by Maya Angelou


February 6, 2020  

John Lam: Boston Ballet Principal Dancer a Gay Vietnamese-American Reflects on his life Leading to Coming out, Marrying and Having two Kids


I am speaking with John Lam, the principal dancer at the Boston Ballet.

John is joining me via Skype from his home in Quincy Massachusetts.

His parents immigrated to California from Vietnam. He grew up in an underprivileged household and discovered his love for dance at the age of 4 at Marin Ballet, through the Performing Stars of Marin a children's program that has helped some of the most impoverished children in the Bay Area. 

John’s parents were definitely not expecting him to be gay, become a professional dancer, mary a man and raise two sons. He constantly had to fight against the expectations of his culture, his peers, and his family.

John Lam: When John was 14,  at Marin Ballet, Mikko Nissinen cast the young dancer. 16 years later, John and Mikko continue to work together, John as Principal Dancer and Mikko as Boston Ballet's Artistic Director.

At age 35 John is the first Vietnamese American male in history to become a principal dancer in a major ballet company.

At the beginning of the podcast, I mention a story in Dance Magazine that states that almost 60% of the men in dance companies were gay. The same article writes that as if to protect their own macho image,  Americans, in particular, love to embrace the idea that the stereotype of male dancers automatically being gay. Here is the link 


February 5, 2020  

Quick Up-Date: Gay, Dad & Principal Dancer Coming-up + Follow-up on Social Media

Hello back in America fans!

This is just a quick update - Tomorrow on Thursday at 8 PM we are releasing an amazing interview of the principal dancer at the Boston Ballet. John Lam is the son of Vietnamese refugees. He grew up in a poor neighborhood of San Fransisco, is gay which in his parents' culture is pretty tough, yet he married a man and had two sons.

I look forward to your comments after you’ve heard this amazing story

Talking of engaging with my listeners.

If you want to know more about the adventure of back in America if you want to see behind the scene video if you want to hear soundbites from my interviews before they are aired or if you just want to reach out and give feedback follow back in America on the social media
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Once again if you like back in America make sure you share it with your friends, with your family, and help people discover the podcast it would mean a lot to me.

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