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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8:03am

Thu March 26, 2015
Code Switch

Why It's So Hard For Us To Agree About Dong From 'Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt'

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 10:35 am

The gesture Kimmy's making doesn't mean the same thing to Dong.
Eric Liebowitz Netflix

The very first time we encounter Dong Nguyen, one of several hotly debated characters in Tina Fey's Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, he has just introduced himself to Kimmy in their GED class. And, as surely happens to Dong all the time, ever since he immigrated to New York from Vietnam, she's stifling a giggle over his name.

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1:22pm

Fri March 20, 2015
Code Switch

The Time A Cartoonist Was Told To 'Lighten Up' A Character

Originally published on Fri March 20, 2015 4:02 pm

Cartoonist Ronald Wimberly was told to "lighten up" a Mexican and African-American character.
Ronald Wimberly The Nib

In a beautifully illustrated comic over at The Nib, cartoonist Ronald Wimberly relays the story of working with an editor who asked him to lighten the skin tone of a character he was working on, Melita Garner, who has been described as Mexican and African-American, a reporter, and Wolverine's ex-girlfriend.

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4:47pm

Wed March 18, 2015
Code Switch

Starbucks Campaign Already Inspiring Awkward Conversations About Race

Originally published on Wed March 18, 2015 5:12 pm

"It's also interesting because I'm actually black, but you assumed otherwise," Jay Smooth told Nancy Giles.
MSNBC's All In With Chris Hayes

Starbucks' campaign to get people talking about race has already birthed a very public, very cringeworthy conversation about race. Jay Smooth, a radio DJ and video blogger, was on MSNBC's All In With Chris Hayes Tuesday night, discussing the coffee company's "Race Together" campaign with fellow guest Nancy Giles, a contributor to CBS Sunday Morning.

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11:58am

Fri March 6, 2015
Code Switch

The Fascinating Story Of New Orleans' Two Lost Chinatowns

Chinese who operated small shops in New Orleans' Chinatown for many decades learned in 1937 that their small city-within-a-city was doomed to make way for a parking lot. Shown in front of one of the shops on Tulane Avenue between Elk Place and Rampart Street are Big Gee, seated, and Lee Sing, standing.
The Times-Picayune/Landov

New Orleans is known for its enormous Vietnamese population, one of the largest in the country. But we recently came across a story about a now-lost Chinatown in New Orleans — two of them, in fact — and how they came to be. To understand how these hubs came about, and why they disappeared, we have to rewind the clock 150 years, to the end of the Civil War.

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2:39pm

Thu March 5, 2015
Code Switch

Study: At 'Rate My Professors,' A Foreign Accent Can Hurt A Teacher's Score

Originally published on Thu March 5, 2015 7:21 pm

The biggest gaps overall were in the South.
Kat Chow/NPR

"So-and-so is really, really hard to understand." Or: "His accent is so distracting." I remember hearing off-the-cuff remarks like this a few times in college, complaints by classmates about teaching assistants and instructors, almost all of them of Asian descent and non-native English speakers.

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9:50am

Wed March 4, 2015
Code Switch

Rapper Jin Tries To Stretch His '15 Minutes' Of Fame

Jin poses for a photograph during an interview with the AP in Hong Kong in 2008.
Jerome Favre AP

10:03am

Sat February 28, 2015
Code Switch

A 'Show Boat' With An Asian-American Cast Hits The Rocks

Originally published on Mon March 2, 2015 1:45 pm

A heads-up to our readers: This post quotes a racial slur.

When actress Erin Quill saw a casting notice earlier this month for a Show Boat musical revival with a completely Asian-American cast, she raised an eyebrow.

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1:41pm

Wed February 25, 2015
Code Switch

African Emoji CEO: Apple 'Missed The Whole Point' With Its Diverse Emojis

Originally published on Wed February 25, 2015 7:23 pm

Here's a set of Afro-centric emoticons that Oju Africa's CEO thinks trumps Apple's new diverse emojis.
OjuAfrica.com

Alpesh Patel, the CEO of African-based emoji company Oju Africa, thinks Apple missed the mark with its new set of iPhone emoji options, which offers more skin-tone options than before.

"Look at their new emoticons — it's all about skin colour," he told Vice's Motherboard. "Diversity is not about skin colour — it's about embracing the multiple cultures out there that have no digital representation."

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4:47pm

Tue February 24, 2015
Code Switch

Here's Where Emoji Skin-Tone Colors Come From

Originally published on Tue February 24, 2015 8:14 pm

Here are the latest set of emoji.
AP

In emoji news (one of my favorite types of weird news, ever): Apple this week released a beta operating system to its testers that finally includes noticeably browner — and, um, yellower — choices.

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4:20pm

Thu February 19, 2015
Code Switch

Oscars Voter Says 'Selma' Cast's 'I Can't Breathe' Tees Were 'Offensive'

Originally published on Fri February 20, 2015 7:18 pm

A scene from Selma.
Atsushi Nishijima Paramount Pictures

The Hollywood Reporter is doing a series of interviews with voting members of the academy, the folks who decide who gets an Oscar. Yesterday's (anonymous) interviewee had this to say about why Selma didn't get a nod:

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