Dr. Joely Proudfit featured in “Chelsea Handler Does”

Madison Scrivano, A&E Editor

Chelsea Handler, who many may be familiar with from her television show “Chelsea Lately”, released a new Netflix show in January 2016 entitled “Chelsea Does”.


During each segment, Handler covers different aspects of life, such as drug use, racism and marriage. One particular episode titled “Chelsea Does Race” features CSUSM’s very own Director for the California Indian Culture and Sovereignty Center and Professor,  Dr. Joely Proudfit.


The segment itself covers Handler interviewing different individuals across the states about racism, and she uses her sarcastic comedic relief to break the ice of controversial topics.


Proudfit said that when Handler’s production crew first approached her to be a part of the show, she was apprehensive.


“The interesting part about this was that I was originally intended to help Chelsea and the production crew with meeting tribal members,” said Proudfit. “I didn’t know much about her show, and the production crew told me she was moving away from “Chelsea Lately” in order to cover more important and serious topics. I told her to do her homework first and to not make jokes about my culture, and I think she approached it well and with reverence”.


Proudfit states that at one point during the interview, Handler even made her tear up a bit by asking some hard-hitting questions.


“The interview did get personal at one point,” Proudfit said. “However, I think this type of show is a step in the right direction because Handler is so well known in the media, and that has an impact of grabbing the attention of those who wouldn’t otherwise want to enter into this difficult discussion of race. When humor is added to the conversation, it’s easier to approach.”


Proudfit also stated that when people know better, they do better.


“Once people know what is offensive, they’ll stop and think. It’s not personal, you have to frame your argument in a way that people stop and realize what’s going on. You won’t win over advocates if individuals feel as though they can’t have a conversation. We have to figure out a way to work together,” she said.


Professor Proudfit plans on using media as an influential tool to advocate change for the Native American community.


“I believe that media is the fourth branch of government. Media has done more for people on how they define Native Americans,” Proudfit said


“If you think about it, everything you know about American Indians is defined by someone else and how we are portrayed in media … Through no fault of our own, we’re either portrayed as a savage or as a Pocahontas type figure. My work in the media is to change this outlook and idea. I’d rather catch more bees with honey.”


Students can read more about Dr. Proudfit and her advocacy for change within Native American Media on her website, Thenativenetworkers.com and on Proudfit’s own personal webpage, joelyproudfitphd.com/joelyproudfit.html.