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.

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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Code Switch
5:15 pm
Sat March 22, 2014

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

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

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

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All Tech Considered
11:27 am
Fri January 17, 2014

Researchers Are Totes Studying How Ppl Shorten Words On Twitter

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

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

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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Code Switch
8:03 am
Sat January 4, 2014

Comic Artist Yumi Sakugawa On Friend-Love, Identity And Art

Yumi Sakugawa's book I Think I Am In Friend Love With You helps define the joys of modern friendships.
Yumi Sakugawa

About a month ago, I asked my followers on Twitter if they had any recommendations for a comic artist whose work I should check out. Person after person brought up Yumi Sakugawa, a California-based artist. And I was familiar with her work: she's the brains behind the ever-nostalgic strip, "Claudia Kishi: My Asian-American Female Role Model Of The 90s."

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Code Switch
4:30 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

Seeking Wonderful Young Adult Novels That Deal With Race

What books about race or culture would you recommend to a not-so-bookish teen?
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 4:49 pm

At Code Switch, we receive a whole bunch of emails and messages from readers and listeners. And many times, folks ask questions that get us buzzing during our editorial discussions.

One Code Switch reader sent us a note seeking book recommendations for a multiracial teen. The emailer described the teen as not very "bookish" but still a good reader.

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Code Switch
1:58 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

Screening Room: Who Might Be The Next Black Actress On 'SNL'?

Kerry Washington (with Taran Killam) recently appeared on SNL to spoof the show's lack of a black female cast member.
Dana Edelson AP

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 3:22 pm

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Code Switch
6:14 am
Sun October 20, 2013

Asian-American Band Fights To Trademark Name 'The Slants'

The Slants' band members are all of Asian descent.
Courtesy of The Slants

Originally published on Thu November 7, 2013 10:08 am

The Slants, a six-member band from Portland, Ore., calls their sound "Chinatown Dance Rock" — a little bit New Order, a little bit Depeche Mode. They describe themselves as one of the first Asian-American rock bands. Their music caters to an Asian-American crowd, they've spoken at various Asian-American events, and they're proud of all of it.

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Code Switch
5:15 pm
Tue September 3, 2013

The Wondrous, Melancholy Worlds Of Hayao Miyazaki

Hayao Miyazaki's film My Neighbor Totoro features the young sisters Mei and Satsuki, seen here sitting next to the whimsical and outsized Totoro.
The Kobal Collection/Tokuma Enterprises

Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 3:44 pm

The revered Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki, 72, announced this weekend at the Venice Film Festival that he's retiring from making full-length feature films. (He previously went into "semi-retirement" after directing Princess Mononoke in 1997.)

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Code Switch
3:43 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

Research Says: Actually, Where You Go To College Matters

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 11:08 pm

There are lots of questions for high school grads: Should you go for an associate degree or a bachelor's? A community college or a four-year university? Does it really matter where you go? If we're comparing top-tier schools with open-access ones, then yes. It matters a whole lot, and it has long-lasting effects.

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Code Switch
4:55 am
Sat July 20, 2013

Do Racing Snails Drive Racial Stereotypes In 'Turbo'?

Actor Michael Pena voices Turbo's human friend Tito, an ambitious character whose outlandish dreams don't seem to sync up with his brother's vision for their food truck and stand, Dos Bros Tacos.
DreamWorks Animation

Originally published on Mon July 22, 2013 10:03 am

After seeing the animated movie Turbo, Code Switch's Karen Grigsby Bates and Kat Chow reflect on the movie's attempt at showing diversity.

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Code Switch
11:07 am
Thu July 11, 2013

Dueling Stereotypes: Bad Asian Drivers, Good At Everything

Asians are bad drivers but can navigate roundabouts like this one in Shanghai, eh?
Tauno Tõhk via Flickr

Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 4:09 pm

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Code Switch
5:05 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

The Questions People Get Asked About Their Race

How do you respond to questions about your culture or race?
Ariel Skelley Corbis

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 10:58 am

Since Code Switch launched, friends and people on Twitter have been sharing examples of questions they've been asked about their race or culture that they've found interesting, awkward or just plain offensive.

We were intrigued when we saw this question posted on AskReddit: "What's one question you've been dying to ask another race but never do because of the impending 'THAT'S RACIST' aftermath?"

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