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
12:06 pm
Wed April 22, 2015

In Its Season Finale, 'Fresh Off The Boat' Is Still Wrestling With Authenticity

"Why are you dressed like Chun Li from Street Fighter?" Eddie asks his mom Jessica.
Fresh Off The Boat/ABC

Originally published on Wed April 22, 2015 1:03 pm

In Fresh Off The Boat's season finale, Jessica, the family matriarch, worries over whether or not she and her kids have assimilated too much. The Huangs had been struggling to make ends meet, and now all of a sudden, things are turning around. Their steak house, Cattleman's Ranch, is booming. Jessica, who struggled to fit in to suburban Orlando life, has discovered the joys of Melrose Place, and even has a group of girlfriends to watch it with. And in perhaps the ultimate sign that they've "made it," the family is invited to join a local country club.

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Code Switch
12:31 pm
Mon April 20, 2015

George Takei And Company To Hollywood Gatekeepers: Fix Your Diversity Problem

Originally published on Tue April 21, 2015 9:54 am

Remember that Deadline article from a few weeks back? In which the writer pointed out that Hollywood is diversifying — and claimed that's a bad thing?

At least one good thing may come of it:

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Television
3:11 pm
Mon April 13, 2015

How The South Korean Government Made K-Pop A Thing

Sun Hi (Megan Lee), Jodi (Louriza Tronco) and Corki (Erika Tham) star in Make It Pop.
Stephen Scott Nickelodeon

Originally published on Mon April 20, 2015 4:57 am

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Code Switch
2:48 pm
Fri April 3, 2015

Way More College Students Are Studying Korean. Is 'Hallyu' The Reason?

Originally published on Fri April 3, 2015 4:12 pm

A recent study found that in general, college students aren't taking foreign language classes as much as they used to — a slowdown of nearly 7 percent since 2009. But for one language in particular, there's actually been a pretty amazing jump in the rate of enrollment: Korean.

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Code Switch
10:00 am
Thu March 26, 2015

Some Messy History Behind A Fight Over A Restaurant Called 'Chop Chop Chinaman'

The logo of Chop Chop Chinaman restaurant sits on a window outside the dining area Thursday in Chicago.
Armando L. Sanchez Chicago Tribune/TNS/Landov

Originally published on Fri March 27, 2015 12:02 pm

Over in Chicago, a restaurant called Chop Chop Chinaman has been getting a lot of heat for its name. In February, Chicago-area resident Jeannie Harrell was arrested for scrawling "F*** this hate crime s***. It's 2015" in lipstick on the restaurant's window, right next to the shop's decal sticker of a rickshaw and a man wearing a triangular hat.

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Code Switch
6:33 am
Thu March 26, 2015

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

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

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 8:35 am

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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Code Switch
11:22 am
Fri March 20, 2015

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

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

Originally published on Fri March 20, 2015 2:02 pm

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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Code Switch
3:12 pm
Wed March 18, 2015

Starbucks Campaign Already Inspiring Awkward Conversations About Race

"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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Code Switch
9:58 am
Fri March 6, 2015

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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Code Switch
12:39 pm
Thu March 5, 2015

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

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

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

"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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