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Ethnic Hawaiians Disproportionately Incarcerated? Not!

(c) Copyright by Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D. December 30, 2012



A 2010 report by OHA, and a followup a few days ago, allege that ethnic Hawaiians are arrested, convicted, and jailed more often, and sentenced more severely, than other ethnic groups. And by golly, something ought to be done about it! So OHA is gearing up to demand that the 2013 legislature pass laws for special coddling of accused or convicted criminals who have any large or small degree of Hawaiian native ancestry.

But that scurrilous, socially poisonous allegation of racially disparate treatment by the criminal justice system is false. The evidence offered to support it is statistically absurd, for two main reasons.

(1) According to Census 2012 ethnic Hawaiians have a median age of 26, while the rest of Hawaii's people have a median age of 42. Of course young people do more drugs and commit more crimes, with greater violence, than middle-aged people. So they get arrested more often and sentenced to longer terms. And there's nothing unfair about that! It's all about the sins of youth, not about race. That age disparity of 16 years is a major reason why comparing statistics for ethnic Hawaiians as a whole vs. other races makes it look like ethnic Hawaiians are either bad people or are being discriminated against.

The right way to do statistical analysis of alleged disparate outcomes is to compare people of different ages but within the same age group; for example, the 5-year age cohorts reported by the Census Bureau (15-19, 20-24, etc.).

Why does this 16 year age disparity exist? That's a complex issue, but clearly is not the fault of the criminal justice system. Apparently ethnic Hawaiians at young ages like to make babies, and their culture and families are happy to see them do it. Part of the reason might be the urging by Lilikala Kame'eleihiwa and other racial activists that Hawaiians should go forth and multiply regardless of age or marital status, in hopes of someday becoming a majority to gain the upper hand politically. See "Native Hawaiian Population To Double by 2050 -- Lilikala Says Use Population Bomb to Blow Up Current Non-Native Majority" at

(2) Who counts as ethnic Hawaiian? Anyone with a drop of Hawaiian blood, even if most of his ancestry is from Asia or Europe. If crimes were allocated to the race that has the largest fraction of a criminal's genealogy, ethnic Hawaiians would probably turn out to be about as naughty or nice as everyone else. Indeed the most scientifically correct way to analyze the data would be to find out for each criminal what fraction of his genealogy is attributable to each race, and then "award" the corresponding fraction of a tally mark for a crime to each of those races. Someone whose ancestry is only 1/8 Hawaiian would "win" for ethnic Hawaiians only 1/8 of the "credit" for a crime. Hawaiians would turn out to be not so scary as OHA has been claiming.

But the tycoons of the Hawaiian grievance industry refuse to analyze crime statistics (or income or disease statistics) by comparing people in the same age group to each other, or by allocating fractional tally marks to each part of a person's racial heritage. Because if they gathered the data and analyzed it in such obviously correct ways, ethnic Hawaiians would probably be discovered to behave about the same as everyone else and to be treated appropriately by the criminal justice system.

Why do OHA, the Kamehameha Schools research division, and others in the Hawaiian grievance industry so vigorously engage in racial profiling to create extremely negative stereotyping of "Native Hawaiians"? If there were no racial disparity, there would be no right to grumble. No sympathy from a generous public. No special treatment. No reparations. No racial grievance industry with large, highly paid bureaucracies building political power. No racial separatist phony Indian tribe.

The motives for creating reports like the ones on the judiciary in 2010 and 2012 are described in detail in "The Hawaiian Grievance Industry -- Panhandling for Race-Based Handouts and Political Power" at

The 16-year age gap and blood quantum issue regarding why it is false to say ethnic Hawaiians are disproportionately incarcerated and mistreated are explained in great detail, along with extensive analysis of the 2010 report, in "Abusive disparate treatment of ethnic Hawaiians by the judiciary and the criminal justice system? Rebuttal to a report by the Hawaiian grievance industry released September 28, 2010" at

During its 2013 session our legislature will be pressured to pass bills to provide special treatment for ethnic Hawaiians in the criminal justice system based on the bogus "disparate treatment" reports of 2010 and 2012. Auwe! Just say no.


OHA reports in 2010 and 2012, and a rebuttal to the 2010 report

In September 2010 the State of Hawaii Office of Hawaiian Affairs issued a report entitled "The Disparate Treatment of Native Hawaiians in the Criminal Justice System." The full report had about 100 pages, with many pages devoted to artistic glossy photos of taro plants and taro patches. OHA frequently changes the URLs of documents in its archives, so readers who want to keep OHA documents for future reference had better download them now and save them in a secure location! The 2010 press release, executive summary, and full report are currently available at

In late December 2012 OHA issued a followup 32-page item: "The Native Hawaiian Justice Task Force Report." There's no date on the document, which has only a few photos of an individual taro stalk and is currently available at On December 28 the Honolulu Star-Advertiser published a sycophantic news report about it, probably derived almost entirely from OHA's press release. The online article included a flash-player video news report from Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL. Other Hawaii media also pushed OHA's propaganda.

The 2010 report alleges that a far higher percentage of ethnic Hawaiians are ensnared in the criminal justice system than their percentage of Hawaii's population, and they receive longer prison sentences and harsher parole conditions than other racial groups.

That scurrilous allegation attacks the fairness of Hawaii's judiciary, including juries who convict criminals, judges who sentence them, and parole officers who supervise them. Most importantly, that allegation is false for many reasons. The two most obvious reasons are described below. A detailed rebuttal was published in 2010, including analysis of false 19th Century historical claims put forward in the OHA report and the irrelevance of those claims to today's criminal justice system; the slick propagandistic layout of the report making clear it was for public relations rather than scientific rigor; the secrecy whereby data were collected and analyzed under direct supervision of OHA political operatives; the lack of peer review by disinterested outsiders combined with wholesale destruction of the data afterward (thus preventing outside scrutiny); the issue of the huge age disparity of 16 years in Census 2010 (it grew from 14 years in Census 2000); and the massive inflation of the number of "Native Hawaiians" and undercounting of other racial groups due to the automatic labeling of anyone with even a small fraction of Hawaiian blood as solely Native Hawaiian. The detailed rebuttal to OHA's 2010 report is at


Enormous age disparity between ethnic Hawaiians and everyone else

In Census 2010 the median age of ethnic Hawaiians living in Hawaii is 26, while the median age of the rest of our population is 42.

That huge age disparity explains why ethnic Hawaiians are disproportionately involved in the criminal justice system and why they get harsher treatment. It's not that ethnic Hawaiians are bad people, nor that they are discriminated against by the criminal justice system. The correct explanation is that drug abuse and violent crime (deserving harsher sentencing) are sins of youth regardless of race. By the time people reach their 40s they have settled down with families, are achieving success in their careers, and no longer rebelling against society or behaving like hoodlums.

The tycoons of the Hawaiian grievance industry prefer to report data for entire races because it makes Hawaiians look like they desperately need help, when the right way to report data would be in terms of the 5-year age and gender cohorts used by the Census Bureau. Compare Hawaiian males aged 15-19 against each of the other races' males aged 15-19 to see who commits more crime. See if Hawaiians aged 45-49 get arrested for burglary and drug abuse more than Filipinos in the same age group, and which racial group within that age group has higher income and home ownership, lower divorce rate, etc.


Anyone with one drop of Hawaiian native blood gets counted as "Native Hawaiian" when looking at bad outcomes; but that method of counting is not used for other racial groups

The way people are counted by race is ridiculously skewed, especially in relation to ethnic Hawaiians. Anyone with even a small smidgen of Hawaiian blood gets counted as being (fully) Hawaiian even though the great majority of his genetic heritage comes from other races. We know that very few people have 100% native blood. Perhaps 3/4 of "Native Hawaiians" have 3/4 of their genealogy from races other than Hawaiian.

If we insist on classifying a mixed-race person as a member of just one race for statistical analysis, then he should be counted in whatever group has the largest percentage of his ancestry. Counting people in that way would result in very few being counted as "Native Hawaiian."

But the best way to discover whether there's a statistical correlation between race and some other topic is to identify for each individual what fraction of his genealogy comes from each race; and then if he commits a crime or gets heart disease, assign the appropriate fraction of a tally mark to each race. If someone commits burglary and is 1/2 Caucasian, 1/4 Filipino, 1/8 Chinese, and 1/8 Hawaiian, then only 1/8 of a burglary should be attributed to Hawaiians. Furthermore, 1/2 of that same burglary should be attributed to Caucasians; etc.

A similar analysis would be appropriate to investigating whether lifestyle is correlated with criminal behavior, disease, etc. Identify a set of behavioral and environmental characteristics associated with being "Hawaiian" -- perhaps eating poi, pulling taro, digging an imu, practicing spear-throwing, dancing hula, speaking Hawaiian fluently, etc. Then assign a percentage of Hawaiian lifestyle to each person convicted of a crime or victimized by a disease, and look at a graph of hundreds of examples to see whether people who are "more Hawaiian" are more likely to have a certain problem.

Tycoons of the Hawaiian grievance industry say it's improper -- politically incorrect -- to ask someone for his percentage of pedigree. "If you have a drop of Hawaiian, you're Hawaiian." That attitude is what makes their statistical analyses useless from any scientifically objective standpoint. It's easy to go data-mining through statistics from the Census Bureau, National Institutes of Health, etc. to look for evidence of ethnic Hawaiian victimhood when entire races are compared.

To be respectable, research should compare racial outcomes in 5-year age/gender cohorts, and should gather data on racial blood quantum percentages as part of the data sets for racial comparison.


Junk science and illegal policy proposals in OHA's 2012 report: government establishment of Hawaiian religion, and Lamarckian theory of evolution, as justifications for sending non-Hawaiian prisoners to Arizona in order to let ethnic Hawaiian prisoners serve their sentences at home

The race-mongers need to be asked what sort of conclusions they would like us to believe. Do they assert that there's a "Hawaiian gene" which is so poisonous that anyone who has it is more likely to be a criminal, or have low income, or get some terrible disease? If so then Hawaiians should consider genetic modification, and the rest of society should consider quarantining them -- both possibilities are clearly out of bounds. Do they assert that there's something about the Hawaiian lifestyle that causes criminal behavior or diseases? If so, then Hawaiians should consider changing their lifestyle to become more like everyone else, or consider demanding that the physical and social environment be restored to the way it was before Captain Cook's arrival, when there was no racially disparate treatment and no Western diseases. Of course it would be wrong to change the Hawaiian genome or to tear down the highway system and the tall buildings and destroy the TVs and refrigerators. If we believe the nonsense in hundreds of victimhood "studies" produced by Kamehameha Schools research division, what exactly would they want us to do about it?

OHA's 2012 judiciary followup report makes recommendations for fixing the alleged disparate treatment of Hawaiians. The solution is to give special (disparate!) treatment to ethnic Hawaiians which would require building a bureaucracy of highly paid Hawaiian specialists to ensure that ethnic Hawaiian criminals get special treatment to Hawaiianize them to make up for past life experiences which have de-Hawaiianized them. The concept is similar to "affirmative action" which in practice means discriminating in favor of an allegedly oppressed group by discriminating against an allegedly dominant group in order to remedy past injustices. But in 2007 Chief Justice John Roberts, writing the majority ruling in a lawsuit over affirmative action in the Seattle schools, famously ended by saying "The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race."

OHA's 2012 judiciary followup report says there should be an expansion of behavioral treatment programs for Hawaiians, based on Hawaiian culture (but no culturally-based programs for Filipinos, Caucasians, or others). As though making criminals "more Hawaiian" by keeping them at home and immersing them in Hawaiian cultural activities would solve the dysfunctions laid on Hawaiians from birth through adolescence merely because of the fact they have the Hawaiian gene and are raised to be culturally Hawaiian.

Michael Broderick, chairman of the task force, is quoted in the Star-Advertiser as saying "The cultural dislocation of taking a Native Hawaiian and putting him in Arizona, where all (he sees) is cement, is not right, and that has to change. We heard from people who were fundamentally affected by that. ... When we have a disproportionate number of Native Hawaiians in prison, the Native Hawaiian culture disintegrates. The values and the spiritual contributions of Native Hawaiians, which are so strong, get lost."

Broderick's comments echo a main thrust of both the 2010 and 2012 reports, which is that ethnic Hawaiians have a special connection to the land in Hawaii in keeping with their ancient religious belief: the gods gave birth to the Hawaiian islands as living beings; and then to a stillborn baby from whose grave grew the first taro plant; and then the gods gave birth to the primordial ancestor of all ethnic Hawaiians. Thus everyone with at least one drop of Hawaiian blood is genealogically a child of the gods, and a younger sibling to these islands and to the taro plant; in a way nobody else ever can be who lacks a drop of Hawaiian blood. See "Religion and Zealotry in the Hawaiian Sovereignty Movement -- How Religious Myths are used to support political claims for racial supremacy in Hawaii" at

That explains why, according to both judiciary reports, ethnic Hawaiians suffer far more than other races when they are sent away to a prison on the mainland. A clear but unspoken conclusion is that equitable treatment would be to fill any necessary quota for incarceration on the mainland by sending people with no native blood, while keeping Hawaiians home in their spiritual and ancestral lands. Broderick apparently doesn't consider that anyone who grows up in Hawaii, regardless of race, will love the land, mountains, sea and sky and will feel profound loss and alienation if removed to a mainland prison. He also doesn't consider that one purpose of prison is to punish; or that it might be helpful to rehabilitation to remove a criminal from the dysfunctional family and the gangs in Kalihi or Wai'anae which made him a criminal to begin with.

It would violate the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution for government to give favorable treatment to a racial group at the expense of other racial groups; e.g., send Caucasians and Filipinos to mainland prisons so Hawaiians can stay here, enjoy the scenery, and have conjugal visits. And it would violate the establishment clause of the 1st Amendment for government to adopt a religious belief of one group as the legal basis for justifying favorable treatment to that group at the expense of others. But that's apparently the normal way legislators and bleeding-heart liberals like Broderick think when it comes to treating ethnic Hawaiians as our state pet to be coddled and stroked. See "Native Hawaiians as the State Pet or Mascot: A Psychological Analysis of Why the People of Hawaii Tolerate and Irrationally Support Racial Separatism and Ethnic Nationalism" at

The 2012 report repeats assertions from 2010 that various historical traumas from the 19th Century reverberate into the 21st in a way that causes today's Hawaiians to become hoodlums -- American imperialism, the overthrow of the monarchy in 1893, annexation in 1898, etc. Auwe, the trauma is still felt by people whose parents and grandparents were never there when it happened. Both reports make use of some pseudoscience to explain why the alleged trauma from 120 years ago is still felt today. For example footnote 5 of the 2012 report says "There is a phenomenon called epigenesis, which is showing that not only does intergenerational trauma get passed on socially, but it actually gets passed on genetically." Wow! (I guess I'm supposed to feel deep inside the despair of my ancestors from the Great Irish Potato Famine). Jean-Baptiste Lamarck (1744-1829) had a theory, later embraced by Marxism and now totally discredited, that behavioral traits acquired during a person's life can be passed down genetically to later generations. Apparently this theory is finding favor with Hawaiian sovereignty activists, since it would hold out hope that if today's Hawaiians get "back on the land" and adopt a diet of fish and poi then the next generation of Hawaiians will be genetically predisposed to a more mellow and righteous authentically Hawaiian lifestyle.


The Hawaiian Grievance Industry -- Panhandling for Race-Based Handouts and Political Power

One of the strange things about politics in Hawaii is the aggressiveness of racial profiling and racial stereotyping for fun and profit.

The fun part is to zealously proclaim the past glories of an aboriginal culture dragged into modern times by outsiders. More fun comes from insisting that any living person who has a drop of aboriginal blood thereby acquires genetically all the skill, knowledge, and wisdom of the ancestors; plus the right to guaranteed racial supremacy in political power. The concept is that the gods gave birth to the Hawaiian islands as living beings, and then gave birth to the primordial ancestor of all ethnic Hawaiians. Anyone with a drop of Hawaiian native blood is descended from the gods and is a brother to the land. Anyone lacking a drop of the magic blood is forever an outsider -- at best merely a guest in the indigenous homeland of his increasingly reluctant hosts. Thus we are all racially profiled as having both personal characteristics and political rights based entirely on whether we have any Hawaiian native ancestry.

More racial profiling comes from saying that (all) ethnic Hawaiians (as a group) are poor and downtrodden, having the worst statistics for poverty, disease, poor education, alcohol and drug abuse, mental illness, family dysfunction, incarceration, etc. Spokesmen for this racial group are extremely zealous in embracing and publicly asserting this derogatory stereotype! Advocates of "political correctness" and non-discrimination tell us we must never discriminate against anyone simply because he was born into a group that is stereotyped as evil, disgusting, or dangerous. On the other hand, we are told we must discriminate in favor of members of this group and against members of other groups, by giving every individual member of the favored racial group loads of goodies not given to non-members.

Profit comes from race-based institutions grown wealthy and powerful by gathering data and manipulating statistics to "prove" the derogatory labels. Such claims are then used to demand more money and power to study the problems, to gather more data, and to write reports demanding more money and power. There is intense effort to ensure that ethnic Hawaiians can win the economically and politically valuable prize of being worst victim. Greater profit comes from asserting historical grievances about events of 107-227 years ago (1778-1898), and coupling the historical grievances with current victimhood statistics. It is claimed (but never proved) that the historical grievances actually caused the (alleged) current victimhood conditions. Books, movies, and newspaper articles constantly tout the historical grievances and victimhood claims, laying a guilt trip on Hawai'i's people of no native ancestry and on the United States. Sometimes those same books, movies, and articles also glorify the ancient culture and the modern effort to revive selected portions of it. Thus the guilt is intensified, because the people who suffer the grievances and victimhood are exceptionally gifted and noble.

The greatest profit of all would be the establishment of a race-based government controlling enormous amounts of land and money for the exclusive use of members of the favored race. The demand to establish such a government is asserted as a way for non-ethnic Hawaiians to give reparations for past injustices and help to overcome current victimhood, thereby starting down a (very long and expensive) path to reconciliation. Butthe path has no end; the shining goal of reconciliation can never be achieved.

The general idea is: Once upon a time we had a highly developed and beautiful culture; our people were decimated by diseases brought by your ancestors; our culture and language were suppressed by your ancestors; today we have the worst statistics for health and social dysfunction and it's all your fault; you owe us enormous reparations; and we demand political power to control our own affairs so we can manage the reparations you give us and overcome the bad things you have done to us.

The greatest injustice of the Hawaiian grievance industry is its use of racial profiling, or stereotyping. Both common sense and data analysis show that the variations within a racial group are far greater than the differences between their averages. Say what? Some ethnic Hawaiians are rich, some are poor, and most are scattered at every level in between. The same is true of every ethnic group. Even if it is true that the average family income for ethnic Hawaiians is lower than the average family income for ethnic Japanese, it is also true that a great many ethnic Japanese have lower family income than the average for ethnic Hawaiians. Every group has rich, poor, and in-between. Awarding goodies to an entire racial group while ignoring other groups gives benefits to many members of the favored group who do not need those benefits; at the expense of members of the disfavored group(s) who truly do need the benefits but are racially excluded from getting them.

Racial stereotyping is obviously complicated by intermarriage. In Hawai'i, it is commonly said that 75% of all ethnic "Hawaiians" are each more than 75% something else. How is it that someone with 1/16 Hawaiian native ancestry and 15/16 Chinese ancestry calls herself "Native Hawaiian"?

Blood quantum percentage is clearly very important in analyzing any medical or social claims such as "Native Hawaiians have the highest rate of breast cancer and the highest rate of poverty." If the claim is that genetics is the cause, then that woman who has 1/16 Hawaiian native ancestry should rack up only 1/16 of a victimhood tally mark for Native Hawaiians and 15/16 of a tally mark for ethnic Chinese. If race is claimed to be the cause or distinguishing characteristic of a physical illness, then percentage of racial heritage is obviously relevant to analyzing the data.

If the claim is a social or cultural one, that people raised with a specific type of cultural upbringing are more likely to suffer certain health or social problems, then of course race is not the issue. A child who is biologically white but adopted and raised in a Hawaiian family will grow up culturally Hawaiian -- unless the "Hawaiian" family itself has adopted all or part of other cultural folkways.

If someone goes to jail for assault, then racial blame for that crime should be allocated among racial groups based on percentages of blood quantum; and the crime should be allocated among ethnic cultural lifestyles based on some sort of calculus for counting which social elements or styles belong to which cultures. Confusing, isn't it? There is simply no way to justify claims that "Native Hawaiians" are this (good thing) or that (bad thing) -- not biologically, and not culturally.

Race-based government or private programs provide goodies for every member of a group, whether they are needy or not. Ethnic Hawaiians have more than 160 federally-funded programs for healthcare, housing, education, etc. which are NOT available to other groups. Then there are race-based programs operated by institutions that are private but enjoy the government handout of hundreds of millions of dollars in tax exemption, such as Kamehameha Schools. The obvious result is that a wealthy person of Hawaiian native ancestry has access to programs not available to poor people of other ancestries.

For example, an impoverished Filipina woman who knows she has breast cancer might be unable to afford medical treatment, even while she herself is paying taxes used to provide free breast cancer screening to a wealthy Hawaiian woman who might not have the disease at all. This sort of injustice happens because there are government funded breast-exam programs exclusively for ethnic Hawaiians; and those programs got established because of "studies" that showed that the average rate of breast cancer among ethnic Hawaiians is higher than the average rate among other ethnic groups. The best solution is the simplest one. Forget about race. Needy people get help based on need alone. If it is true that ethnic Hawaiians have the worst statistics and are the most needy among the ethnic groups, then it is obvious that ethnic Hawaiians will get the lion's share of whatever help is given out based on need alone.

If there are some diseases which can be proved to be linked to a racial genetic factor, then clearly the medical establishment should look more closely at people of the affected race when doing screening. The obvious solution to genetically caused diseases is to do gene therapy to cure illness among individuals already living, and to give genetic counseling to prevent the conception of infants who would be doomed (as is done, for example, with Ashkenazi Jews regarding Tay-Sachs disease). If it can ever be proved that a particular gene that produces a particular race also automatically produces an undesirable physical or mental characteristic, then serious consideration would need to be given to doing genetic engineering to change the genome of that racial group. But of course that would be politically incorrect, and ethnic Hawaiians in particular have strong cultural and political opposition to any tampering with bones or DNA -- there was even an uproar recently regarding a university project to do genetic engineering on taro, because a Hawaiian creation legend places taro as the elder brother of ethnic Hawaiians.

How is it possible that a group of people once so high have been brought so low? Because outsiders brought disease and death. Outsiders forced fundamental changes in the religion, culture, language, and way of life -- changes which destroyed the natives' physical health along with their emotional drive and spiritual connectedness to each other and to the land and the gods. The natives are now strangers in their own land, dispossessed and depressed, with nowhere to go but oblivion -- unless everyone pitches in to rehabilitate them with massive reparations for historical injustices.

Although 80% of Hawai'i's people are outsiders, we are all invited to the pity-party. Just be sure to bring lots of gifts. Anyone who dares to challenge the historical, legal, or moral basis for reparations simply doesn't understand -- he must be ignorant, and will be given education (propaganda). Anyone who has been bombarded with propaganda and shows he understands the issues, but nevertheless insists on disagreeing -- he must have an evil heart, and is therefore fair game for vicious personal attacks.

No amount of factual evidence or logical reasoning will ever persuade the "victims" to give up any of their victimhood claims. The victims are proud of their victimhood, and assert it ruthlessly as a weapon to extract money and power from their generous, kind-hearted "oppressors." But no amount of reparations will ever be enouugh. This is a debt which can never be repaid. The existence of this debt lays so much guilt at the door of Hawai'i's people and all America, that the only solution would be to help these poor downtrodden people create their own government and then turn over massive amounts of money, land, and power to them.

That's the theory of the Akaka bill, and also of the independence movement. The main quarrel between these two factions concerns which tactic is more likely to bring success. (1) Pursue independence as the only strategy because it's what both factions really want in the long run, and oppose the Akaka bill. But this strategy risks the loss of race-based programs through court challenges in the meantime. (2) Accept tribal status for the present in order to ensure the preservation of race-based programs while continuing to pursue independence. But this strategy risks the possibility that accepting tribal status might be seen as an exercise of self-determination -- ethnic Hawaiians making a group choice which is irrevocable, thereby foreclosing the use of "international law" to achieve independence.

What's written in this section of this essay was taken from the introductory section of another webpage, which then goes on to analyze these issues in much more detail. See "The Hawaiian Grievance Industry -- Panhandling for Race-Based Handouts and Political Power" at


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