United Shades of America is a CNN docu-series helmed by comedian W. Kamau Bell.
‘United Shades of America’ follows comedian and political provocateur W. Kamau Bell as he explores communities across America to understand the unique challenges they face.
Last October, Bell produced a show about abortion and the CNN documentary crew tapped Students for Life of America (SFLA) to provide a pro-life perspective for the episode. The group sent their Minority Outreach Coordinator Elizabeth Parker (who is African American) to represent the organization and the unborn on camera.
In October, at the request of the producers of the CNN documentary “United Shades of America”, Students for Life of America employee Elizabeth Parker drove to Jackson, Mississippi to film an interview. A few hundred dollars of travel expenses and many (otherwise productive) hours later, the interview was filmed and Elizabeth returned home to Nashville, awaiting the premiere of the ‘United Shades’ episode that claimed a goal of exploring both sides of the abortion debate.
Naturally Parker and her colleagues were excited to see how the interview turned out in the final cut and honored to be included in a show aimed at “exploring communities across America”. In a discussion about abortion, it goes without saying that the pro-life community is an unavoidable and vital part of the conversation – literally half of it.
When the May 19th premiere finally came around the SFLA team was disappointed to discover Parker had been cut out of the documentary altogether. Even worse, it turned out there were no pro-life views represented at all. CNN even cut out footage of pro-life advocates outside local abortion facilities. Parker says she suspects their views simply didn’t fit the narrative they were trying to weave. Rather than present a two-sided story, they simply cut the side that didn’t fit the script.
“They said that the goal of the episode was to take a look at both sides of the abortion debate. I went, gave them my time, and got cut for my trouble – as did the rest of the pro-life invitees. Clearly, they only wanted to portray abortion positively. “
SFLA representatives say Parker’s race was likely a factor, particularly considering one person they did include in the episode. African American abortion doctor Willie Parker was heavily featured. Parker calls his abortion work his “Christian duty” and the community he serves is largely minority-based.
“Elizabeth tells the truth about abortion to her generation, following in the footsteps of her parents who for years have operated a pregnancy care center to help young mothers in Nashville,” said SFLA President Kristan Hawkins. “Not to mention, given the extremely high loss of African-American life to abortion, Elizabeth was an important part of this story on how abortion impacts this community. Choosing to highlight the pro-abortion figure instead was no accident.
Clearly Parker’s presence as a reasonable and articulate minority voice for the pro-life side did not fit the progressive narrative of pro-lifers as misogynistic, rage-filled, uncaring neanderthals.
CNN likes to brag about how well they cover the “apples” of the day, but that seems like pretty easy work when you’ve completely banned oranges.