Kat Chow

Kat Chow is a journalist covering race, ethnicity, and culture for NPR's new Code Switch team. In this role, Chow is responsible for reporting and telling stories using social media, sparking conversations online, and blogging.

Prior to coming to NPR, Chow worked with WGBH in Boston and was a reporting fellow for The Cambodia Daily, an English-language newspaper in Phnom Penh.

While a student at the University of Washington in Seattle, Chow was a founding member of a newsmagazine television show and freelanced for the Seattle Weekly. She also interned with the Seattle Times and worked on NBC's Winter Olympics coverage in Vancouver, B.C. You can find her tweeting away for Code Switch at @NPRCodeSwitch, and sharing her thoughts at @katchow.

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12:48pm

Thu August 14, 2014
Code Switch

Roundtable: The Past And Present Of 'Yellowface'

Originally published on Thu August 14, 2014 2:55 pm

Every few months, there's a renewed discussion about "yellowface" — when people wear makeup or clothes in an attempt to look more Asian. In just the past year, the subject has come up in conversations about How I Met Your Mother, The Mikado, Magic in the Moonlight and a performance by Katy Perry. (And now, HBO's show Jonah from Tonga is sparking a similar discussion on "brownface.")

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9:48am

Fri August 1, 2014
All Tech Considered

Simmering Online Debate Shows Emoji Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

Originally published on Fri August 1, 2014 6:22 pm

What is this emoji?
NPR

Images, GIFs and emojis — particularly the latter — have morphed into ways we express our feelings. They've quickly replaced words and sentences in our texts, tweets and emails.

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9:23am

Mon July 14, 2014
Code Switch

How 'Ching Chong' Became The Go-To Slur For Mocking East Asians

Originally published on Mon July 14, 2014 1:01 pm

An album cover for Lee S. Roberts and J. Will Callahan's 1917 song "Ching Chong."
The Library Of Congress

When Kwok-Ming Cheng went to a Whole Foods in New York City to pick up some pre-ordered sandwiches over the Fourth of July weekend, he wasn't expecting to get tapped with a new nickname.

"Are you Ching Chong?"

That's the question Cheng said he heard from a customer service representative at the grocery store.

It's a slur I and many other Asian-American folks have heard at some point in our lives. But every time I hear it, I can't help but wonder, "How is this thing still around? And where did it even come from?"

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6:50am

Tue April 29, 2014
Code Switch

Ringleader Of Human Smuggling Ring Dies, Leaving A Complex Legacy

Originally published on Tue April 29, 2014 9:28 am

Cheng Chui Ping, also known as "Sister Ping," died last Thursday. She portrayed herself as a clothing shop owner, but government investigators said her main business was smuggling Chinese immigrants into the U.S.
Getty Images

For decades, Cheng Chui Ping smuggled thousands of people from China to the United States. She created a lucrative business and a robust network that brought immigrants through treacherous routes. Cheng died of cancer last Thursday in a Texas prison.

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7:06am

Fri April 4, 2014
Code Switch

Who's Boosting Box Office Numbers? Report Says Latinos

Originally published on Wed August 6, 2014 8:27 pm

Cesar Chavez pulled in $3 million at the box office last weekend and did noticeably better in areas where the farmworkers advocate was most active.
Courtesy of Lionsgate

According to a recent report published by the Motion Picture Association of America, Latinos went to the movies in 2013 way more often than other ethnic groups in the U.S. relative to their population.

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7:03pm

Sun March 23, 2014
Code Switch

When Vanilla Was Brown And How We Came To See It As White

Originally published on Mon March 24, 2014 9:31 am

Fun fact: The vines that vanilla beans grow on also produce orchids.
Malcolm Manners via Flickr

Say you know someone, maybe a friend of a friend, who's perfectly pleasant but just sort of lacks any sort of oomph. You don't want to be mean (because, you, unkind? Never), but if you had to describe that person in a really, really honest way, how would you do it?

Call the FOF boring? Bland? Dull?

Vanilla?

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5:15pm

Sat March 22, 2014
Code Switch

They Cast Whom?! Actor Choices To Offend Every Racial Sensibility

Originally published on Sun March 23, 2014 12:48 pm

From a mixed heritage, Adam Jacobs plays Aladdin in the Disney Broadway production of the same name.
Cylla von Tiedemann AP

6:09am

Sat February 22, 2014
Code Switch

Iconoclastic Musician Takes Measure Of His Life: 'I Became A Fighter'

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 3:43 pm

Fred Ho practices his baritone saxophone in a dressing room before a performance.
Joseph Yoon Courtesy of Fred Ho

When I first walked through the door of Fred Ho's apartment in the Greenpoint area of Brooklyn, I asked, "How are you?" And he said, "Not good. I'm dying."

Ho has always been matter-of-fact and in-your-face. He painted himself green and posed naked for the cover his album, Celestial Green Monster. In the photo, he has a baritone saxophone placed strategically between his legs. He looks strong — like the Hulk.

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2:46pm

Wed February 19, 2014
Parallels

Who's The Momma? Artist Gets Asians Young And Old To Swap Styles

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 5:07 pm

This clothing swap seems perfectly natural to me.
via Qozop

Ever wear your parents' or grandparents' old clothes or have them wear yours? A photographer asked individuals to swap garb with their relatives who are from a different generation.

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11:57am

Fri January 17, 2014
All Tech Considered

Researchers Are Totes Studying How Ppl Shorten Words On Twitter

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 1:31 pm

Some clippings: "Hilar" or "hilars" mean "hilarious." "Alc" is shorthand for "alcohol" in some circles. And "obvi" is pretty straightforward (er, "obvious").
iStockphoto

Shortening words, swapping them out, giving them different meanings — that's not new. Remember in Mean Girls when the queen bee character, Regina George, berated one of her underlings for trying to make the word "fetch" catch on?

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