Who are the lucky Americans?

Carvell Wallace: If equal opportunity is a myth, what happens when luck swings in your favour - and who gets left behind?

    The last time Carvell Wallace visited McKeesport, Pennsylvania, where he grew up, Bill Clinton was president, people used fax machines, and you still printed out driving directions from MapQuest.

    During his visit, Wallace saw that his once-thriving hometown had been hollowed out, like many other Rust Belt towns, by the disappearance of manufacturing jobs. It had also been hit hard by the crack epidemic of the late eighties and early nineties. "Streets I remembered as buzzing and lively were empty," he says. "The house I had lived in was abandoned. Lawns were overgrown. The town seemed to have died."

    In the 4th episode of his podcast Closer Than They Appear, Wallace goes back to McKeesport for the first time in almost 20 years, guided by his childhood best friend, Shamrace Mims. Mims remained in the town in the years after the then 10-year-old Wallace moved away. They talk about the different paths their lives took, what growing up in McKeesport was like after young Wallace left, and the guilt he feels for getting out when others didn't. 

    You can hear this conversation in episode 4 of Closer Than They Appear, the debut show from Al Jazeera's new podcast studio, Jetty.

    Over the course of seven episodes, Wallace decides that the best way to move forward is to turn and face the dark moments in America's history - and in his own. Along the way, he brings on guests for thoughtful conversations about what it means to be an American, what Americans are fighting for, and what's next for him and for all of us. 

    Catch up by listening to episode 1, featuring Oscar-winning actor Mahershala Ali, who joined Wallace to discuss what it means to be black men in America, fatherhood in the time of Trump, and maintaining grace in the face of adversity. 

    You can listen to this episode in the player above and then subscribe in Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen. You can also get full episodes on Facebook Watch.

    Follow the show on Twitter @closershow.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera News


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