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.

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.

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