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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Code Switch
2:38 pm
Sun November 23, 2014

Running Late? Nah, Just On 'CPT'

Almost there! Always delayed.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Sun November 23, 2014 2:50 pm

In our semi-regular Word Watch feature, we take a look at a word or phrase that's caught our attention, whether for its history, usage, etymology, or just because it has an interesting story.

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Code Switch
12:19 pm
Tue November 18, 2014

The Many Stories Behind Double-Eyelid Surgery

Double eyelids, single eyelids — ” why do we change our eyes, or keep them the way they are?
Claire O'Neill/NPR

Originally published on Fri November 21, 2014 1:23 pm

This is the second half of a look at the history and motivations behind the Asian blepharoplasty, popularly known as "double-eyelid surgery." On Monday, we dug into its background and some of its history. Today, we'll explore the "why."

A lot of assumptions are made about why people undergo double-eyelid surgery. Assumptions like: They wanted to look more white, or they wanted to look less Asian.

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Code Switch
5:15 am
Mon November 17, 2014

Is Beauty In The Eye(Lid) Of The Beholder?

A plastic surgeon performs a double-eyelid surgery on a patient at the BK Clinic in Seoul in August 2007.
Han Jae-Ho Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri November 21, 2014 1:25 pm

This is part one of a two-part series looking at the history and motivations behind the Asian blepharoplasty, popularly known as "double-eyelid surgery." Find part two here.

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Race
7:50 am
Thu September 18, 2014

Jacqueline Woodson On Being A 'Brown Girl' Who Dreams

Author Jacqueline Woodson reads from her newest novel, Sept. 15.
Kat Chow NPR

Originally published on Fri September 19, 2014 2:37 pm

The first time author Jacqueline Woodson says she really understood poetry — and loved it — was after reading Langston Hughes in elementary school.

"Until then, I thought it was some code that older white people used to speak to each other. I didn't know what was going on with the line breaks and the words," Woodson recalls. "Once the floodgates opened, they opened."

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Code Switch
5:27 am
Sun September 14, 2014

Overthinking It: Using Food As A Racial Metaphor

This is a Twinkie.
Christian Cable Flickr

Originally published on Mon September 15, 2014 2:02 pm

In February, a state-run media outlet in China mocked Gary Locke, who was signing off as U.S. ambassador to that country. "Gary Locke is a U.S.-born, third-generation Chinese-American, and his being a banana — 'yellow skin and white heart' — became an advantage for Obama's foreign policy,' " the editorial read.

Years ago, a (possibly apocryphal) story circulated about Democratic activists throwing Oreos at Michael Steele, the black former head of the Republican party.

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Code Switch
10:18 am
Thu August 21, 2014

An Officer Shot A Black Teen, And St. Louis Rioted — In 1962

News outlets in 1962 paired this image of injured police officers with a story about the aftermath of a riot in a St. Louis suburb.
Proquest Historical Newspapers Archive

Originally published on Thu August 21, 2014 10:34 am

Amid the flurry of coverage about Michael Brown's death and the reaction in Ferguson, Mo., journalists have been unpacking St. Louis' long, tense history of racial unrest. In some of these stories, the parallels between the events of years past and those of the past few weeks are striking.

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Code Switch
1:16 pm
Fri August 15, 2014

While Films And TV Shows Miss Latinos, A YouTube Outlet Grows

On the MiTú network's Guzii Style, Chef Guzii makes bolitas de chocolate.
MiTú

Originally published on Sat August 16, 2014 12:11 am

Over the past few months, there's been a lot of coverage of the paucity of Latino depictions on American movie and television screens, particularly given that Latino audiences are disproportionately driving box-office ticket revenues. The Wrap recently completed a four-part series on the subject.

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Code Switch
12:44 pm
Thu August 14, 2014

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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All Tech Considered
9:48 am
Fri August 1, 2014

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

What is this emoji?
NPR

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

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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Code Switch
9:23 am
Mon July 14, 2014

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

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

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

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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