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Television / Current Events PopWrapped | Television

Native American Comedy Group 'The 1491s' Abused By Redskins Fans During 'Daily Show' Segment

Margie Patton | PopWrapped Author

Margie Patton

10/13/2014 3:35 pm
PopWrapped | Television
Native American Comedy Group 'The 1491s' Abused By Redskins Fans During 'Daily Show' Segment | The 1491s
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The Washington Redskins name is blatantly offensive to any clearly-thinking human with the slightest shred of morality. To Native Americans, it is more than offensive, though. It is degrading and diminishing, a perpetuation of the societal attitude that Native Peoples are inferior and undeserving of equal rights or equal voice. Recently the Native American comedy troupe the 1491s were invited by The Daily Show to participate in segments addressing the Redskins controversy. Troupe member Migizi Pensoneau wrote about the experience for The Missoula Independent, and many of his revelations drive home how pervasive racism towards Native Americans still is in the U.S., even in 2014. In the article, Pensoneau recounts a confrontation the group had in a debate panel with a vocal proponent for keeping the Redskins name, logo, and surrounding fan behavior just as it is. The comedian writes:
"As some of the anti-mascot activists started in passionately on the issue, pro-mascot panelist Kelli O'Dell, who was previously employed by the Washington Redskins and whose Internet presence is devoted to her support of the team and mascot, started to cry. My ever-dapper 1491s colleague, Bobby Wilson, offered her his own handkerchief. It was an intense situation, but never mean-spirited. O'Dell, though, started to accuse us of ambushing and lying and "how dare you." (Later, after the shoot but before the episode aired, it would be reported by the Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Time, Gawker, Uproxx, Buzzfeed and CBS that she felt in danger and this experience would smear her name.)"
Pensoneau goes on to explain what being "in danger" is REALLY like, describing the horrendous treatment the 1491s received when the group interacted with fans at the "Redskins Nation" tailgate during a game at FedEx field:
"There were points during that hour-long experience where I actually was afraid for my life. I have never been so blatantly threatened, mocked or jeered. It was so intense, so full of vitriol that none of the footage ended up being used in the segment. I'm a big dude -- 6'1", and a lotta meat on the bones. But a blonde little wisp of a girl completely freaked me out as I waited in line for the bathroom. "Is that shirt supposed to be funny?" she asked motioning to my satirical "Caucasians" T-shirt. And then she said, "I'll f_cking cut you." Actually, she didn't scare me so much as the wannabe linebackers standing behind her who looked like they wanted to make good on her threat."
Pensoneau reveals more of the abuse the group received at the game, and the performer concludes with a succinct, crystal-clear statement on why the "pro-Redskins" opinion deserves zero respect:
"I think back to the tailgate: the man blowing cigar smoke in my face, the man who mockingly yelled, "Thanks for letting us use your name!", the group who yelled at us to "go the f-ck home," the little waif who threatened to cut me, the dude who blew the train horn on his truck as I walked by the hood. I think of all of that, and I think back to O'Dell crying and trying desperately to get out of the room full of calm Natives. I thought she was crying because she was caught unawares and was afraid. But I realized that was her defense mechanism, and that by overly dramatizing her experience, she continued to trivialize ours. It was privilege in action. And as I realized these things, something else became incredibly clear: she knew she was wrong."
To read Pensoneau's full article, visit The Huffington Post.

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