The "apology" began:
JIM: But I wanna get it right, please tell me, one last time, which kind you are, and I swear I'll never ask again.
NOREEN: I'm Pakistani.
JIM: And is...that the name of your tribe, or...?
NOREEN: It's a country.
NOREEN: It just is.
JIM: No, I was saying hello.
Comment: Saturday Night Live continues its streak of mentioning Indians, which is good. It does seem the writers are trying to include Indians.
The setup for the humor was good. Racist Jim looked foolish because of his insensitivity to women and minorities.
But the Native-oriented "jokes" were more uncomfortable than funny. The skit spoofed Jim's ignorance of the difference between Asian and American Indians--but didn't spoof the Native stereotypes. Viewers might've thought, "Well, if Noreen had been an American Indian, it would've been okay to say 'How!' to her."
In other words, it wasn't clear why Jim's comments offended Noreen. Because he was treating her like the wrong kind of Indian? Because she recognized the comments as offensive to American Indians? Or both?
Probably the former more than the latter. But the uncertainty explains why these comments didn't hit home for me.
The skit had a few good moments. More important, it raised some racial and sexual issues that are rarely brought out into the open. As one example, would the phrase "bury the hatchet" really offend American Indians? No, but I bet most Americans don't know that.
Almost anything that gets people thinking about prejudice is good. In that sense, I'd say the skit was a success.
For more on Saturday Night Live, see Drunk Uncle in Saturday Night Live and "Village People" in Saturday Night Live.