Did Colbert Bit Go Too Far?

Remember that silly idea floated by some ultraconservatives that President Obama would surrender the United States to Native Americans, who would then rule as “Indian overlords”?

It seemed like an idea for a comedy sketch. So it came as no surprise when Stephen Colbert covered the story on his Comedy Central TV show.

In the first part of the segment, Colbert slyly pointed out the absurdity, at one point suggesting that the new Indian overlords “might build burial grounds on top of our sacred malls.” Then he turned a different camera to address Native Americans. Can you guess what came next?

“How. Me big Chief Hips-Like-Woman. Honored to be your humble servant. Waited many moons to join empire. Make have gray hair, please no scalp-um…”

Oh yes he did. Colbert’s shtick, of course, is to play a Fox News–style blowhard, all indignation and damn the facts. Colbert the character says dumb, belligerent things that Colbert the person wouldn’t. But you have to be careful when joking about race. Was the crowd laughing at Colbert-the-character’s dated, insensitive, cartoonish view of Native Americans? Or were they simply laughing at Native Americans? You be the judge:

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Native American Overlords
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog March to Keep Fear Alive

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Did Colbert Bit Go Too Far?