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Cultural Appropriation Have We Got It Wrong?

Updated on November 11, 2019
Nell Rose profile image

Nell is a trained Psychologist and lives in London England. She has been writing since she was a child.

cultural appropriation
cultural appropriation

Cultural Appropriation

Cultural Appropriation.-Or Misappropriation.

Adopting the elements/clothing etc of one race by another culture.

Regarded as controversial if the dominant culture takes from disadvantaged minority cultures.

But is it as bad as people are saying?

Let's take a look at what it actually means, by breaking down the wording above.


The Power of Words

Just the wording 'minority culture' is a misnomer. To be a minority culture you have to be living in a country where everybody else is foreign compared to you.

If someone is living in their own country then they are not a minority.

And as for saying 'dominant culture over disadvantaged' that statement alone is racist.

And yet it's written by do-gooders thinking they are being kind when really they are doing the 'pat them on the head they need protecting,' thing.

Yes, I know, picking at small points doesn't prove anything.

Well, actually it does. Words are powerful. Every single word is the power behind the sentence. And the sentence is the power behind the hurt.

Why does the West always believe that other countries need our 'protecting bless them,' help?

I find that very conceited and superior of them.

Most of the so called disadvantaged countries have been around a hell of a lot longer than us, and here's the crunch. They do things differently.

Not inferiorly.

The question is, why is this happening now?

Well, it's the influence of the Internet.

Everybody knowing what's going on in a matter of seconds.

Let's face it, all around the world people have always worn other culture's clothes, spoken their language and had various hairstyles.

Before I go on, I just want to say that I totally agree that it's wrong to use another culture's clothes or designs for your own money-making scheme such as the story below.

Kim Kardashian Kimono
Kim Kardashian Kimono

Kim Kardashian and Kimono

Back in the summer of 2019, Kim Kardashian brought out a new brand of underwear for ladies and labelled it Kimono.

Obviously lacking in sense somewhat, she was surprised to see a number of people complaining that it was cultural appropriation.

And I quite agree. It was a stupid mistake to make. Apart from the cultural aspect of the name, putting the word Kimono on underwear was just tacky and stupid.

Respect obviously isn't in her vocabulary!

To use something so obvious was plain stupid.

But what about the lesser attack on people who do it without realising?

Mexican man wearing a sombrero
Mexican man wearing a sombrero

Sombrero Insanity

Recently, over here in England, there was a hysterical, and I mean this in a laughing way, reaction to something that happened at Sheffield University.

Evidently, in their wisdom, or lack of, the student union decided that we must never ever wear Sombreros anymore!

Evidently, they claim, it was Cultural appropriation.

You can imagine the uproar.

'Why are kids at University coming out with this rubbish?'

And, 'Get back to your learning and stop being a snowflake!'

There were comments such as...

'I am Mexican, stop being an idiot!'

'So when they sell them to us in Mexico we have to throw them away?'

It seems that the world has gone mad.

And we know why. The Internet and too much information.

Now the thing is this. Do we really want other cultures in their own country to go broke because we have been told to not buy anything from them that may offend?

Most cultures rely on tourism. And that means buying goods and souvenirs from them. If this goes on, they won't be able to sell anything.

Native  American Culture but is this wrong?
Native American Culture but is this wrong?

Did You Know?

Bruno Mars, Beyonce, and Awkwafina have all been accused of cultural appropriation.

The snowflake culture is the equivalent of the salem witch trials.
The snowflake culture is the equivalent of the salem witch trials.

Snowflake Culture

With the Internet brainwashing the kids, along with the media who can't wait to jump on anything with the word racist in it, how are the children of today going to know what's right or wrong?

And here's the thing.

Most people who scream racism are the white snowflake culture as they are, sadly, known today. Trouble is, they don't know they are doing it.

And worse of all?

They don't realise that what they are doing is racist.

Sad eh?

It is reminiscent of the Salem Witch Trials.

Someone may have worked for over 30 years, but one word by these kids and the whole lot comes tumbling down.

But that's for another time.

Did You Know?

Cornrow hair was used by Celtic tribes in Britain over three thousand years ago, and in Scandinavia too. And both wore feathers tied into the hair.

Celtic Britain Culture

Celtic Britain Culture cornrows
Celtic Britain Culture cornrows

On The Subject of Racism...

A bit strong?

Well yes, but it's the truth. And here's why.

Just step back for a moment and think.

If someone kept 'protecting' your culture, what would your first thought be?

I am quite capable of protecting myself thank you!

And that is the point.

Whenever a white person yells 'racist!' He or she is literally saying;

'As a black man/woman I am standing up for you as you are incapable of doing it yourself. Therefore you are inferior to me.'

Fact.

Put it whichever way you like, it's true.

Take another scenario.

A white person argues with another white person. It's equal, and if anyone else gets involved they will say 'Why are you arguing? What did he do?'

In plain English, what they are in fact saying is, as two white equal people there must be a reason for the argument.

Now change that to a black man arguing with a white man.

Another person says; 'Stop picking on him, Is it because he is black?.'

In that one sentence, you are all literally shrinking that black man down to a color.

He is no longer a hard-working family man.

And it's not just white people who say it. Unfortunately, people of color say it about themselves too.

Just a color.

How about that.

If we continue to separate our different Races instead of embracing them all and integrating ideas, culture and ways, we will stay stagnant and never progress. The world will be a lonely place where we all sit silently apart, too scared to open our mouths. Do we really want that?

— nell rose

Even Bruno Gets Caught Out!

Back On Track

Sorry for getting off track but it had to be said.

I will say one thing. If the world insists on continuing this rather bleak idea, then please make sure you include white people too.

In one video I watched, it seemed that it was all directed towards white people doing wrong.

Sorry guys, that's a no no. If another culture appropriates our culture then we must shout it out loud too.

Equal means just that.

In the same way that we have got it wrong for jumping to conclusions, we have also got it wrong about cultural appropriation.

We wear other people's clothes etc because we admire them. The clothes and the people. Simple as that.

And many clothes and hairstyles have traveled the world throughout history. Nobody really owns the everyday stuff.

So let's chill out shall we?

Or maybe this will be the next step, and we don't want that.

Tell black/Asian/Native American not to wear our T-shirts, trousers, socks, hats, dark glasses, watch our TV's, use our phones and so on?

It works both ways.

Here's a thought.

Let's all grow up and act like adults.

There, isn't that better?

Cultural Appropriation is it a good thing?

See results

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    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      2 weeks ago from England

      Aw thank you so much Tim! It's always great to see you.

    • Tim Truzy info4u profile image

      Tim Truzy 

      2 weeks ago from U.S.A.

      Love you, immensely Nell. My wife swears I probably have Asian Indian descent because I can't get enough of teas in any form, or maybe British. In any case, I have a little time on my hands, I'm curious to see what the amazing Nell has on her profile page for me to read to expand my mind and heart. Blessings.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      2 weeks ago from England

      Hi Tim, and of course you are right. Just the words Aryan Race makes me shudder. Did you know? Hitler copied the Romans who started it off in the first place. Can't remember the name of the Roman but there is a book that is supposed to be against the law to have it. Tacitus? maybe I am wrong. but if there is anyone who thinks they are one DNA then its laughable! Ask my jewish/persian/British/Irish/Norwegian/Native American ancestors, LOL! mind you, you can get Irish and Scandinavian 100 percent. Got some on my matches.

    • Tim Truzy info4u profile image

      Tim Truzy 

      3 weeks ago from U.S.A.

      History is full of lies, from the right and left as well, eventually causing a war started based on a lie: World War II. We must be ever prepared to combat ignorance. Names to investigate, for example:

      Garrett Morgan, inventor of one of the first traffic lights.

      Charles Richard Drew

      When Europeans visited Africa, they discovered "alchemy" during the Middle Ages and before. In fact, the Arabic translation of the word "alchemy" is "chemistry of the Black people." Check it out.

      Again, history is deceitful because certain elements prefer others don't know their past. After all, it's easier to strip people of their pride if they believe they haven't contributed.

      I'm proud of being a part of the western world, and I take intense care to make sure those who need education (under my care) get it properly so cultures can respect one another.

      I'm sorry, there never was an Aryan race. It's made up. Genetics confirm it.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      3 weeks ago from England

      Aw thanks Tim! My one hundred and one DNA countries say hi! LOL! still trying to find out the Jewish, Norwegian link. Its a fun thing to study!

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 

      3 weeks ago from Chicago

      Political Correctness involves lying. Lying by denying the achievements of some and lying by inventing phony achievements of others. The simple fact is that 99% of the modern world was created by males of European descent. I am well aware the great leveling operation of the Left involves falsifying history. As an historian and truth seeker, I will not stand for it without rebutting it. Western Civilization is the most awesome thing man ever came up with and instead of denying it or hating on it, as the Left does, we should be grateful for it because everybody's life on Earth is better because of it.

    • Tim Truzy info4u profile image

      Tim Truzy 

      3 weeks ago from U.S.A.

      One last comment, my friend in G.B. My wife and I would agree with you 100%. Having read enough of your articles, and having a good understanding of you: I'm sure you know I am sincere in that respect. Nell, I get accused of being too much this or that-it's frustrating. But I'm not worried. I sleep well at night. As long as their are good people in the world, such as yourself and others we know, I deeply honor your Whiteness, Jewishness, and all the other parts of who you are. Likewise, I know you do the same. Two thumps up on your son getting a rescue doggie!

      Love and the deepest admiration.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      3 weeks ago from England

      lol! I think its just the white thing that drives me insane. In plain English, everybody is right and allowed to do what they want as long as being white gets in the way.

    • Tim Truzy info4u profile image

      Tim Truzy 

      3 weeks ago from U.S.A.

      That's o.k., I have one people like Flourish Anyway can appreciate. Little Richard from "Good Golly Ms. Molly" fame, and the 1950's and beyond was notorious for saying: "I invented that!" whether it was music by the Beatles or rap music. It was funny because he seemed to take it seriously sometimes.

      Yes, historians and all of those big brains say all languages and music started in Africa, and thank you very much, I prefer English, and by the way, sometimes the lines in the 42nd Scotland Street novels make me want to read them twice and go, what?

      There was nothing "heavy" in my comment, dear friend. It's just that when people don't know history and what science has discovered, it's easy to denounce the accomplishments of other groups. Some level of respect must be present, even with appropriation of culture. This is why questionable people rise to power-ignorance.

      I suppose we should give tomatoes and potatoes back to the Peruvians, but I like tomatoes on my pizza-Sorry Italy. Or should I apologize to Peru?

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      3 weeks ago from England

      Hi Tim, I totally agree with you, that's why I said ouch on the other comment! As for language, English has spread around the world and everyone speaks it. And that is how it should be.

      Here's a funny for ya, to lighten the mood a bit.

      I got a comment from a Scottish girl a couple of years ago, and she said, 'I am scottish and I have my own language, you English do not!'.....LOL! I had to explain!

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      3 weeks ago from England

      Thanks James.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      3 weeks ago from England

      LOL! always good to see you Paula!

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 

      3 weeks ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Nell....Well....I'll be stymied! And I was going to tell you that when I grow up, I want to be YOU!!...........Great article as always, Nell.....Love ya, Effer

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 

      3 weeks ago from Chicago

      Yes, I hope it does. Let's all decide what is best and go with it no matter who invented it.

    • Tim Truzy info4u profile image

      Tim Truzy 

      3 weeks ago from U.S.A.

      It's important to note: no single invention was made without contributions from various people. For example, the filament for the light bulb was invented by Black individuals. It wasn't uncommon for inventors to take the credit for items created by their staff during Edison's time. The first successfully performed blood transfusion was conducted by a doctor of color. Walkie-talkies, the stop light, too. The list goes on. What's important is we recognize culture is fluid, thusly, subject to change and not dependent on one group. Perhaps, people of color should reclaim rock 'n roll or force White people to pay for the use of all languages. Forget rock 'n roll-the entirety of music. Maybe people of color should reclaim all the DNA that make us human. Ludicrous! Culture is simply defined as the "way we do things around this place," and our place is the world.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      3 weeks ago from England

      Ouch! I do get your point James, it really does have to stop now doesn't it?

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 

      3 weeks ago from Chicago

      I agree with you 100% Nell. If people of color do not want any cultural appropriation maybe they should do without air conditioning, airplanes, anesthesia, aspirin, ATMs, automobiles, adhesive bandages, bar codes, barbed wire, batteries, bicycles, blood banks, calculators, cameras, motion picture cameras, cans, cardboard, cement, clocks, compact discs, CAT scans, computers, concrete, contact lens, credit cards, defibrillators, dentures, metal detectors, smoke detectors, dishwashers, drinking fountains, dry cleaners, dynamite, electrocardiograms, e-mail, elevators, engines, escalators, eyeglasses, fax machines, fiber optics, fiberglass, film, flashlights, frozen foods, GPS, guitars, helicopters, hypodermic syringes, insulin, the internet, lasers, lawnmowers, light bulbs, LCDs, locomotives, loudspeakers, MRIs, matches, microchips, microphones, microscopes, microwave ovens, mirrors, missiles, motors, motorcycles, neon lights, nuclear reactors, nylons, oil wells, pacemakers, paperclips, paper towels, parachutes, particle accelerators, pasteurizers, pens, pencils, penicillin, cell phones, phonographs, photographs, printing presses, radar, radios, razors, refrigerators, respirators, revolvers, rifles, robots, roller coasters, rubber bands, safety pins, satellites, seat belts, sewing machines, shoe laces, silicone, slot machines, snowmobiles, soft drinks, sonar, postage stamps, spaceships, staplers, steel, stethoscopes, stoves, straws, submarines, sunglasses, sunscreen, supermarkets, synthesizers, tampons, army tanks, teabags, Teflon, telegraphs, telephones, cell phones, telescopes, televisions, thermometers, thermostats, tires, toilet tissue, toasters, toilets, tractors, traffic lights, transistors, typewriters, ultrasound, vaccinations, vacuum cleaners, Velcro, Viagra, video games, videotape, virtual reality, vitamins, washing machines, X-rays, and zippers.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      3 weeks ago from England

      That's okay Yves, I didn't mean it like that either, lol! I was just watching a video on youtube with a girl attacking a white girl because she had cornrows, it set me off on this hub. No problem my friend.

    • savvydating profile image

      Yves 

      3 weeks ago

      I apologize if I said anything offensive. I love my country and I still feel highly inclined to defend it, even if some Americans here do not. If the cornrow thing started here and I misunderstood, that is "my bad." Love you, Nell.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      3 weeks ago from England

      Sorry forgot to add Yves, I am only half British, I am Jewish, Norwegian and Persian too, so yes I am a minority too.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      3 weeks ago from England

      Thanks again WBA.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      3 weeks ago from England

      Thanks Devika! :)

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      3 weeks ago from England

      Hi Yves, not sure what you mean by starting in our country? I believe it started in America with a girl attacking another one over cornrows.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      3 weeks ago from England

      Thanks Dora, it has just got so out of hand hasn't it?

    • wba108@yahoo.com profile image

      wba108@yahoo.com 

      3 weeks ago from upstate, NY

      I think I need to clarify my last comment when I referred to the pretended outrage over Cultural Appropriation as deliberate con by leftists. I believe the pretended and at times real outrage over Cultural Appropriation is not just an isolated phenomenon but part of a deliberate strategy employed by the left.

      Outrage over Cultural Appropriation provides yet another weapon to advance the anti-western anti-American narrative that our success primarily due to the exploitation of weaker civilizations. So now America and western nations add insult to injury by mocking the disadvantaged cultures who supposedly built their ill-gotten empires.

      This narrative provides a justification for those who worked hard and succeeded to atone for supposed past exploitations of other cultures and for government theft of taxpayers for reparations to those who were exploited. These reparations justify using the tax code and government programs to redistribute wealth (another phrase used for theft) to the supposed victims of western tyranny.

      What’s not generally understood is that elite progressives care little about exploitation but conveniently use guilt as a means to manipulate and distract their marks ( the hardworking taxpayer) into financing government programs that buy votes and line the pockets of wealthy leftists.

      This scenario is nothing new, empires for the beginning of history have built their wealth through the theft of weaker people and privileged classes have maintained their wealth by corrupt practices that exploit the underprivileged. America and the west were largely the first to begin to even be concerned about this evil and move to rectify the problem but they are the ones being hypocritically being demonized as the agents of tyranny.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      3 weeks ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Interesting so true!

    • savvydating profile image

      Yves 

      3 weeks ago

      Nell....Sometimes other countries really want our help. I dare say, they have even asked and been exceedingly thankful for our help.

      However, I agree that cultural misappropriation has run amok. No offense, but is that not something that had begun in your country? Unfortunately, it has now taken hold in America and it is not a good thing. I agree with you there. If I want to wear cornrows, I damn well have the right to do so. And now, god forbid, I'll say something even more controversial, black women, have the right to straighten their hair and dye it blonde. It works both ways. And by the way, I am a "minority" and I am not a racist.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      3 weeks ago from The Caribbean

      "Nobody really owns the everyday stuff." We might have to write this line a few hundred times like we did in school, until it sicks in. We can eat, wear, dance in whatever manner we like, no matter what name of country is attached to the style. Thanks for speaking to this issue.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      3 weeks ago from England

      That's it exactly Ruby! thanks as always.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      3 weeks ago from Southern Illinois

      Being politically correct is overrated, what the heck are people thinking. We all are who we are, be proud, love all races. Skin color, who cares?

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      3 weeks ago from England

      LOL! thank you Clive, and always good to see you.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      3 weeks ago from England

      Thanks wb!

    • clivewilliams profile image

      Clive Williams 

      3 weeks ago from Jamaica

      Whoa! one more read for me. But i am not into following the crowd. I am just a bug in a far away forest.

    • wba108@yahoo.com profile image

      wba108@yahoo.com 

      3 weeks ago from upstate, NY

      The pretended outrage over so-called Cultural Appropriation is just another con by progressives to gain an advantage over those they're trying to manipulate.

      There is, of course, a huge difference between appropriating aspects of another culture as opposed to attacking another culture.It's another clever con by leftists similar to the equality and reparations scams, where the intended effect is to distract you with meaningless arguments while they rob you blind.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      3 weeks ago from England

      Exactly Bill, lol!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Here's what I do: I try to treat everyone with love and respect. I'll leave it to others to be politically correct. :)

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      3 weeks ago from England

      Hi Shannon, thanks so much! yes it's one of those things that drive us all mad I think, lol!

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      3 weeks ago from England

      Thanks Pamela, it just drives me insane to be honest. I don't drive, I have worked for over 30 years and can't even afford a car.

    • shanmarie profile image

      Shannon Henry 

      3 weeks ago from Texas

      Good for you, Nell. You just put into words what so many people are feeling. There are some things that I would clearly label as insulting, but so many of the things that people take offense to as racist or as cultural appropriation are not. I particularly like your sombrero example. I could easily see that become an issue here as well. Humans are crazy! When I was younger (and even now, actually, but especially so growing up), I used to love learning about other cultures. Trying the things they do is part of the fun in learning. And your tourism point.....you raise some really good points here, Nell. I hope this article of yours is circulated far and wide.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      3 weeks ago from Sunny Florida

      Nell, You make several good points in this well written article. The "snowflakes" often drive me nuts too. The college students are occasionally asked basic questions on the street by reporters and they can't answer even the most simple questions. So, what are they being taught in school, especially college?

      I agree that if you are a citizen of any country, you are not a person we must take pity on as they are not less than any other person, no matter the color of their skin or due to their beliefs. This is a topic that we could discuss for hours I guess.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      3 weeks ago from England

      I love the fact that you were teaching culture to the Americans in other countries. Thanks Eric

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      3 weeks ago from England

      Thanks John, I have no idea what has happened to this generation, drives me insane! lol!

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      3 weeks ago from England

      I agree. I do think it has totally got out of hand. It just caught my attention then set me off, lol! Thanks Flourish.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      3 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      This blows my mind in a good way. Can you imagine a great big white man in Asia. How about a guy with a cowboy hat and boots in Paris? I fit in pretty good in Mexico DF but had trouble sometimes in Puebla. New England was the hardest. But don't even get me started with Native Americans.

      One of my jobs was to teach culture to Americans who were native to a country about their native culture. It was so fun.

      Good stuff.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      4 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      Nell, thank you for writing this important and common sense article that everyone needs to read. I echo your thoughts on all of this. It has already gone too far and if it isn’t stopped soon it will be totally out of control.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      4 weeks ago from USA

      I was really surprised when I first heard about the criticism of Bruno Mars. In a multicultural society we need to be able to freely express ourselves however we feel is appropriate. Ultimately who can really be the judge? The individual needs to judge for themselves. Race is also not always evident and it’s more about self-identity (a very complex and multi-dimensional construct).

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      4 weeks ago from England

      Someone isn't a minority in their own country is what I meant. for example if someone lived in India, and they are Indian then they are not a minority. hope that helps.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      4 weeks ago from England

      lol! No Tim, you can keep it. We don't notice things like that. What brought this up was a woman who was arguing with another about taking their culture, when it was actually Norwegians too.

    • greenmind profile image

      GreenMind Guides 

      4 weeks ago from USA

      Great topic! You write well.

      However...

      Some of it doesn't make sense to me, starting with the first line: "Just the wording 'minority culture' is a misnomer. To be a minority culture you have to be living in a country where everybody else is foreign compared to you. If someone is living in their own country then they are not a minority."

      Did you mean to say that? Because it really doesn't add up.

      This is a great topic that really needs to be looked at. But I think you could read over what you wrote and find things that don't really add to the conversation.

      Thank you!

    • Tim Truzy info4u profile image

      Tim Truzy 

      4 weeks ago from U.S.A.

      Nell, but Black, Native American, Hispanic people, they help to make those trousers, cell phones, etc. lol.

      As I read your article, the big one you didn't mention: Music. Elvis is accused of being a thief, but he was a pretty good one. Black and White folk share culture. Eminem may have culturally appropriated rap music, but I'm not seeing his money or Snoop Dog's either. Does that mean we share the culture of poor and trying to bust a rhyme or something?

      Here's one thing I thought about as I read your well written article: Hey, you friendly British lady! I think most of the world has appropriated your English in some form, and dang it, you can't have it back. Have we misappropriated English? lol. Beautifully written, Nell.

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