Kat Chow

Kat Chow is a founding member of NPR's Code Switch, an award-winning team that covers the complicated stories of race, ethnicity, and culture. She helps make new episodes for the Code Switch podcast, reports online features for Code Switch, and reports on-air pieces for NPR's shows like Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Her work has led readers and listeners on explorations of the gendered and racialized double standards surrounding double-eyelid surgery, as well as the mysterious origins of a so-called "Oriental" riff – a word she's also written a personal essay about. Much of her role revolves around finding new ways to build communities and tell stories, like @todayin1963 or #xculturelove.

During her tenure at NPR, Chow has also worked with NPR's show Invisibilia to develop a new digital strategy; reported for KERA in Dallas, Texas, as NPR's 2015 radio reporting fellow; and served on the selection committee for AIR Media's incubator project, Localore. Every now and then, she's a fourth chair on NPR's podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour. And sometimes, people ask her to talk about the work she does — at conferences in Amsterdam or Chicago, or at member stations in St. Paul or Louisville.

While a student at the University of Washington in Seattle, Chow wrote a food column for the Seattle Weekly, interned with the Seattle Times and worked on NBC's Winter Olympics coverage in Vancouver, B.C. You can find her tweeting for Code Switch at @NPRCodeSwitch and sharing her thoughts at @katchow.

Our Take A Number series is exploring problems around the world through the lens of a single number.

It's about 7 p.m. on a chilly night, and Sirene Garcia is standing outside an apartment building about an hour's drive from Rochester, N.Y.

Even though Garcia has had a cold for the past few days, she has her laptop perched on the hood of her car, trying to test out the new telehealth program. Once the program kicks off, Finger Lakes Community Health's doctors and nurse practitioners will be able to see patients at their homes through video calls.

There's no question that 1968 was a pivotal year in civil rights history. In 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated as he stood on the balcony of a hotel in Memphis; the Fair Housing Act was passed; two U.S. athletes, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, took a stand and raised their fists in a monumental salute at the 1968 Summer Olympics; and Star Trek aired the first intergalactic and interracial on-screen kiss. All this, while the U.S. was embroiled in the Vietnam War.

On a cold evening in Manhattan's Chinatown, Mei Lum sits at the front counter of her family's century-old store. She's closed the porcelain shop for the night, and is tapping away on her laptop, tying up loose ends for the multi-day Lunar New Year celebrations she's organizing for both her family and the store.

Lum, 27, can already picture the scenes that will unfold. Just as they have every year for decades, family and friends will gather in Wing on Wo & Co. tonight for an elaborate dinner.

If you're Native American, there's a good chance that you've thought a lot about blood quantum — a highly controversial measurement of the amount of "Indian blood" you have. It can affect your identity, your relationships and whether or not you — or your children — may become a citizen of your tribe.

Blood quantum was initially a system that the federal government placed onto tribes in an effort to limit their citizenship. Many Native nations, including the Navajo Nation and the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, still use it as part of their citizenship requirements.

In two weeks, 39-year-old Rottanak Kong will board a plane to Cambodia. He'll be accompanied by dozens of other Cambodians with deportation orders.

Kong — along with many in his situation — has not returned to Cambodia since his family left as a refugees. They fled the brutal Khmer Rouge regime, which killed more than two million people.

He was detained by U.S. Immigration Customs and Enforcement in mid-October. More than a decade ago, he was arrested for joyriding and sentenced to a year in prison, according to his lawyer. Because of that arrest, he is being deported.

When I was 16, I was sitting with my best friend in a park by the Connecticut River on a tumble of rocks. We hadn't seen anyone in the hour we'd been there. We were midconversation when my friend whispered, "There's a naked man over there." Sure enough, there was. A man, maybe in his 40s or 50s, had stripped nude and was approaching us, waving his erect penis.

By Niya Kenny's standards, Oct. 26, 2015, began as a normal morning. She walked into her school, Spring Valley High, a little late. But it was a Monday.

A few hours later, she'd be escorted out in handcuffs.

Her day began with algebra class. She parked herself at a desk near an electrical outlet up front — not her usual seat. Kenny was 18 and a senior at the school near Columbia, S.C.

She saw her teacher having a hushed conversation with a student a couple years younger than her.

It's my first interactive theater experience. I'm standing in a dark, large room with a stage in the middle. Other audience members are huddled around. We're not really sure what we've gotten ourselves into.

Here's the premise: We've been asked to be part of a focus group run by a K-pop label. Its leaders have invited us to tour a Korean pop "factory," where the stars hone their dancing and singing in Korean and English. We, the audience, are supposed to help figure out just why Korean megastars haven't been able to break into the American market.

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A judge ruled Wednesday that the descendants of enslaved people who were owned by members of the Cherokee Nation — known as Cherokee Freedmen — have citizenship rights.

"The Cherokee Nation can continue to define itself as it sees fit," U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan wrote in his ruling, "but must do so equally and evenhandedly with respect to native Cherokees and the descendants of Cherokee Freedmen."

The front page of The Daily Progress, Charlottesville's local paper, on June 28, 1921, offers a mix of local minutiae folded in with larger news.

"VALUABLE DOG DEAD," shouts one headline.

"WON'T ACCEPT WAGE CUT," says another.

And then, right up near the top, bordered with teeny asterisks, is this headline: "KU KLUX KLAN ORGANIZED HERE."

A rally with white nationalists chanting phrases like "Jews will not replace us" and "end immigration, one people, one nation" was, as many expressed online, disturbing yet not really all that surprising.

Within hours of the tragedy in Charlottesville, journalists, scholars and other leading voices weighed in around the Internet, with analysis and deeper understanding of how this unfolded.

In 1872, 13-year-old Hong Yen Chang came to the U.S. to be groomed as a diplomat. He earned degrees from Yale University and Columbia University's law school, and passed the bar exam.

When Bao Phi's family fled Vietnam in 1975 and settled in Minneapolis with other refugees, he was just a few months old. He was too young to understand the scene at the airport that day: Communist soldiers were firing rockets at planes filled with people trying to escape, incinerating them in the sky. Phi's parent's told him about their family history bit by bit, and he began to form a stronger sense of his own identity.

Jack Shaheen, a researcher and writer who spent his life battling stereotypes of Arab-Americans and Muslims in pop culture, died Sunday in South Carolina. He was 81.

One of Shaheen's notable victories came in 1993, when he helped persuade Disney to change some original song lyrics in the movie Aladdin, on the grounds that they were insensitive.

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