Becky is also credited for the invention of peanut butter and the traffic light.
Ah, the white theft of intellectual property. Perhaps it is the one true tradition of whiteness. And within that tradition no other practice is more widespread than stealing from Black women. Warner Brothers stole The Matrix from Sophia Stewart. Medical science stole the cells of Henrietta Lacks. Hell, Rachael Dolezal even stole Black women identity.
What ABC4's Kim Fischer and George Severson stole was a concept that one Black woman took years to develop out of her personal experience with the U.S. justice system. Her name is Taylar Nuevelle, one of our contributing writers here at The Decolonizer, CEO of Who Speaks For Me? Project, and founder of the term "Trauma-to-Prison Pipeline". The term gives a name to the very real phenomena of trauma survivors being increasingly targeted for incarceration as a result of traumatic life experiences.
For Nuevelle, who herself is a justice involved Black woman, fighting against the trauma-to-prison pipeline is her life's work. She has given numerous presentations on the need for a trauma-informed justice system. She has spoken to policy makers in Washington. She has advocated on behalf of women who are incarcerated. At every moment she has been fighting for survival and the right to tell her story.
Guess what was the title of Fischer's ABC4 Utah special report? You guessed it: "Trauma-to-Prison Pipeline". Guess who appeared front and center in the report? You guessed it: white women.
The special report not only steals Nuevelle's intellectual labor but whitewashes and distorts an issue that particularly effects Black women. Here is a white woman claiming the work of a Black woman on national television while simultaneously whitewashing an issue that effects Black women.
But oh it gets worse.
Nuevelle, who was notified by friends about the special report, contacted Fischer with the hopes that ABC4 would work together with her on reaching a resolution and possibly also interviewing her. Instead she was met with this:
You see, Becky thought that by dismissing Nuevelle and her work the whole thing would go away and she could continue to claim authority on the labor of Black women. If she had honestly never heard of Nuevelle (highly unlikely since one search of "Trauma-to-Prison" on google yields results with Nuevelle's name all over it) one would think she would make the effort to listen. Instead, Becky held on to her lily white fragility.
Oh but it gets worse.
In another email Becky's "boss" News & Local Content Director George Severson, made a half-assed attempted to be receptive to Nuevelle. But due to the need to protect white women from critique and the "big bad Black woman", the attempt quickly crumbled into a shitty apology for white co-option and plagiarism:
"I know Kim has seen much of what you've put out there and is upset by it.. not because it criticizes her (journalists are used to that - it happens everyday - hell, if I don't get a death threat today, it's a good day!).."
"she's upset because you've spread false opinions of her, shared misinformed information, and painted her in a picture so completely opposite of who she really is and what she works so hard for that she is disappointed to her core and spent much of the night talking to me about why she should go on fighting the fight and sharing these stories and trying to educate people when the very people she's trying to support lash out at her like you did.."
And blah blah blah. Telling of how "upset" and "disappointed" Becky was about Nuevelle's rightful anger and disappointment.
In white supremacist patriarchy the importance of protecting white women at all cost is always done at the expense of women of color and Black women in particular. Becky's feelings are centered and catered too while Nuevelle's are absolutely disregarded. Nuevelle is a trauma survivor, a Black woman, and a survivor of the prison industrial complex. She occupies a more vulnerable position then Fischer, yet was recast as an aggressor when the true act of aggression was the stealing of the work, the stealing of the words, and the violent erasure of Black women.
Severson might feel Nuevelle's efforts to inquire about the integrity of Kim Fischer's report "painted her in a picture so completely opposite of who she really is". But then, who Fischer really is, is a manipulative bucket of mayonnaise that takes the form of any story she can rip-off. If she was really "fighting the fight and sharing these stories and trying to educate people" she would have engaged with Nuevelle in her first email instead of attempting to dismiss her.
Severson then had the nerve to talk down to Nuevelle and lecture her on how she should react to her work being stolen:
"I certainly think you owe Kim an apology.. if I was your advisor/confidante I would suggest you clear up the misinformation you've spread on your social media, blog and ask your supporters to support journalists and news agencies like mine and Kim Fischer who care enough to do these stories. We need to support one another, not fight."
Thats right. George Severson actually went there. He actually asked for Nuevelle to apologize! And then proceeds to tell Nuevelle her friends should support his news agency.
But racist news agencies like ABC4 Utah who steal from Black women deserve to be shitted on, not supported. We wonder if you would "care enough to do these stories" if it actually required you to be competent journalist with some integrity. Caring enough looks like listening to a Black woman when she expresses concern over the co-option of her work. You think you are doing Black people who are justice involved a favor by "caring enough"? Your enough is clearly not worth shit.
Well, at least good old George learned something today:
Yes George because this is totally about you being discriminated on the basis of your skin color. Because your Good intentions™ also happen to be covering your ass from intellectual property theft and a possible lawsuit. Because the purity of your heart is like the purity of the Aryan race. Because you are a good person (when you are not stealing the intellectual labor of others).