Is there better response to campus racism than ‘blame them, shame them, erase them’?

This is the most thoughtful commentary I’ve read on the racist video from members of a University of Oklahoma fraternity. The video shocked the university, which shut down the frat and expelled two students.

That swift justice for the offenders has won praise, but has it changed attitudes?

That’s the question Rev. Dr. Maria Dixon Hall asks in her commentary.

Dr. Dixon is an associate professor of organizational communication/Non-Profit studies at Southern Methodist University and a commissioned deacon of the North Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church. One of her advanced degrees is from the Candler School of Theology/Emory University.

She wrote this for her compelling blog, “The View from Dixon Hall.”  I asked Dr. Dixon if I could run it here, and she agreed.

By Rev. Maria Dixon Hall

I am a college professor. It is an essential part of my identity. Yes, I research, publish (not as much as I should), and consult but nothing gives me greater joy than my interactions with my students. Teaching, particularly the motley crew of pre-adults known as the 18-21-year-old demographic, is the means of grace by which I offer myself to God and the world.

Pre-adults. That’s who and what they are. When they enter our classrooms, many of them have never formed an independent thought of their own. The tapes that play in their heads that inevitably shape their interactions are created by parents, teacher, churches, and yes, our culture.

University of Oklahoma students held a dawn protest today of a racist video released Sunday night. (AP Photo)

University of Oklahoma students held a dawn protest today of a racist video released Sunday night. (AP Photo)

Their lives are a culmination of enrichment courses, parental demands and angst, and standardized tests designed to get them into the college. They are so programmed when they hit our doors that it takes almost 4 years for them to really start figuring out what kind of ice cream they really like.

Our students sit in a middling place that is as promising as it is dangerous. They are old enough to drive cars; travel abroad; and use a credit card but they are not mature enough to always understand the consequences of driving too fast; failing to heed warnings of staying with the group; or predatory interest rates. They are high school students whose acne is just clearing up; who can buy birth control on their own, and sleep in on Sundays instead of being bothered with church. They miss more deadlines than they make; They still cry when they are hurt; and just like any 5-year-old they just want someone to hold their hand and be their friend.

Sadly and often tragically, unlike high school, they find out that one bad night; one stupid decision; one wrong turn can lead to life changing consequences. However, when done right and when at all possible (barring criminal behavior) the University and its professors can shine a hopeful light and offer an opportunity to begin again anew.

Perhaps this is why the situation at OU saddens me so deeply. Because rather than confronting, challenging, AND teaching; a college community merely washed their hands and decided that their students were beyond redemption. While Bob Stoops and President Boren were making the heroic rounds as defenders of civility, in my humble opinion, they missed a wonderful opportunity to teach their students how to live, disagree, and unite as a civil community. They perpetuated our society’s Hunger Games philosophy of total annihilation — blame them, shame them and erase them.

Here are four key teachable moments from the classroom of OU/SAE that I believe were missed:

Moment 1: Outrage=Hypocrisy. No one enjoys being called a nigger, especially me. But after living 49 years on this planet in black skin in America, I am not shocked nor horrified when I hear it whether it is directed at me or not. What bothers me most when situations like this happen is all the self-righteous hand wringing and moral indignation of many late in life progressives. It is always interesting to me that when it comes to racial justice, every progressive loves to tell black folks how their families always fought against segregation; how they have always had black friends; and how they are outraged by racism. If you listen to them, they have NEVER let a racial slur slip nor laughed at an off-color joke; nor heaven forbid ever thought a negative thought about a black person, even as they locked their doors when approaching ‘that side of town.’ Since we all know that we all have said things behind closed doors that would have us vilified if they ever saw the light of day, how about we cut these boys a little slack?

Moment 2: Racism is a congenital heart condition: A child doesn’t have to have a parent that shouts racial slurs from the top of their lungs daily to learn to hate. No, rather than the explicit messages of racism like ‘coon’ ‘boy’ or ‘monkey’— children learn from what their parents don’t say. White children learn the lessons of bigotry when their parents isolate them from “those people” by sending them to private schools instead of the public schools in their neighborhoods. Their arteries become clogged with prejudice when the only people of color they encounter are those who serve their meals, clean their rooms, or carry their bags. Clots of intolerance form when they are sheltered behind exclusive enclaves that protect a lily-white existence — never allowing them to experience the diversity of humanity. Young white adults suffer myocardial infarctions of bigotry when their churches either ignore race by erasing it or frame people of color as ‘objects of mission’ rather than collaborators in the Great Commission. So after 12 years of a steady diet of erasure, dismissal, and hypocrisy when these boys have a full blown cardiac arrest of racism, rather than giving them a defibrillator of God’s grace and challenging them to see the sacred worth of all—we pull the plug and do a dance on their graves.

Moment 3: The best way to deal with a racist is to show them the dissonance in their lives. Rather than marching and shouting, what if President Boren invited the young men on that bus who sang their hateful song to sit and watch the video with the black staff members of the SAE house who fixed their meals and cleaned their rooms? Just played it over and again or even ask them to sing the song live. What if after their live performance President Boren finally allowed Walter, the man who cooked their meals for the last 15 years to ask the young men one simple question: “is this what you really think of me?”

See most racists, like homophobes hold to their views in isolation. I believe when those young men came face to face with the people who cared for them and loved them, the full impact of their behavior would then be clear—“How can you profess love for a God you have not seen while hating (hurting) your brother that you see every day?” As the boys and girls who withstood Bull Conner’s hoses will tell you— the human conscious is a most power ally in the battle for social justice.

Moment 4: It is all about outcomes. Every teacher worth their salt knows that every lesson has an outcome whether intentional or not. So the question exists — what do we want these young men to learn? If we wanted them to learn that racism is bad, well we missed it. Instead, they have learned the opposite. They have learned that racism must never be articulated; it must be hidden; it must enacted but never espoused. These boys got in trouble for what they SAID not what they DID. Removing them from campus, away from the fragile constitution of Sooner nation, teaches them nothing except to make sure they aren’t being recorded when they rant and chant. Was it great PR for the University of Oklahoma? Heck yes. They look decisive and like a bastion of civil rights. But have they really protected their students? Have they fulfilled their mission? no.

Dr. King’s most enduring premise was that while laws could give us the right to go to school and eat at the lunch counter together, only the Gospel of Jesus Christ could heal the heart condition known as racism. Dr. King’s work was grounded in the crazy idea that without the transformative power of the Holy Spirit meeting us in the convicting rooms of our own consciousness, our efforts to live in true fellowship would be hollow and half-hearted. Such conversions happen in conversations – not yelling, not screaming, but in a sincere desire to listen and be heard.

Our knee-jerk reactions to the subject of race reveal our great discomfort with real conversation regarding how this sad legacy continues to affect us all. There is a time for marching and there is a time for conversation. This was a time for conversation and intervention.

By expelling these students, OU made it easier for them to hide and to avoid the real mid-term exam of their lives.

Look, I know it is easier just to be done with these students. Bashing them is incredibly popular and dismissing them from the island of humanity appears to be all the rage.

Unfortunately, I am called to the two most idealistic professions—teaching and preaching and I believe in the power of conversion. I believe in the power of Grace. I believe in a God of Second Chances. I believe in a God who is a master teacher.

I know. How silly of me.

 

Reader Comments 0

249 comments
BobDoty
BobDoty

I may not agree with what you say, but I will fight to the death to defend your right to say it.

Lee_CPA2
Lee_CPA2

I see now where the politically correct pathogens, you know, those people who preach "tolerance" and all that, have been protesting in front of the parents house and issuing death threats. Typical. 

Quidocetdiscit
Quidocetdiscit

@Lee_CPA2


Typical? Really?  I promote tolerance, and I have not been protesting in front of anyone's house or issuing death threats.  I dare say the majority of people who believe in tolerance are not promoting death threats.  Stop generalizing. 

Lexi3
Lexi3

@Quidocetdiscit @Lee_CPA2 


"Stop generalizing," unless you are advocating punishment for all SAEs everywhere because of the ditty sung by a drunken few, even if the "offense" is not one the government can lawfully punish.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

Since the discussion has gotten into the area of the First Amendment and the fact it doesn't cover "fighting words," I would just like to point out that Bernie31's reaction to "Ni**er"  as used in the accompanying essay shows why. It seems to make him want to fight, verbally. He has posted earlier that he grew up in Georgia during the Jim Crow era. He's most probably had the words directed at him. He may well remember times when lynching was reported. So these are "fighting words" for him.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@EdUktr @OriginalProf 

Bernie consistently expresses, in phonetically spelled Black English, the viewpoint of many black people, especially older ones.  I have heard variants on his ideas myself from friends, acquaintances, and students.  I think that this blog needs to hear his viewpoint, for otherwise it seems a generally white mouthpiece, sometimes liberal and sometimes conservative, but mostly white.

Lexi3
Lexi3

@OriginalProf 


Perhaps, but they are not "fighting words" within the ambit of the extremely narrow exception countenanced by the law. Again, the exception only applies to face to face exchanges. You may wish to reread the article I cited below, or my response to your misreading of it. The organization which published it exists to challenge school speech and discipline codes, and does it famously.


Further, even if the words constituted "fighting words," and they didn't on the bus, the students were still denied procedural due process-they were expelled without a hearing, and any other procedural guards that may have been codified by OU. The ACLU is right-not even a close legal case. Again, it was a calculated decision by Mr. Boren that he could disregard the constitution because the students would not challenge his actions. And, the constitution is so 18th century to progs. who know better how the world should be ruled.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@Lexi3 @OriginalProf 

As to the UO President--maybe. He had to be calculating that the fraternity would resist even if the students didn't, since he was expelling their chapter from campus. I persist in thinking that there's a context here: either earlier racial incidents from SAE, or racial tension already present on campus. But we will all see what happens in court.



Cere
Cere

@OriginalProf 

Rather than 'fighting' words, I would call these disgusting chants 'condescending' 'demeaning' 'thoughtless' 'dismissive''disrespectful' "horrific' 'damning' words.

Fighting words would be preferable. At least fighting words provide an opportunity for debate - a challenge eliciting a response. These words are so snobbish as to not even intend to provoke a fight or a response. There is no challenge, there is only a statement. There is no desire for discussion, dialogue or anger. There is simply a thoughtless 'chant', followed by a shrug and a laugh. It's the worst kind of offense - one that does not even consider a response or debate. It's about self with no concern for others - no thought or care about what others might think.

Consider the words, "You can hang him from a tree, but he can never sign with me/ There will never be a n—-r SAE.”

Really, is there a possible response to such a statement? Is there an underlying challenge? Is there a 'fight'? No, it's worse, it's just how it is. An incredibly demeaning 'song'. There is no desire to 'fight' - just a gross statement of belief. An insight into a paradigm. Followed by a thoughtless laugh. There is nothing more dismissive to another human being.


Sickening. 



MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@Cere 


Everything you wrote rang so true in my heart and in my soul.  The only words that I can think to communicate to you, and to others, are the words of Jesus, when he called out to God on the cross, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."


And, also these words from the critically praised Argentine film, "Man Facing Southeast":


"Rantes, a mental patient, says to his doctor, as the symbol of all humanity: 'God is within you, but everyday you are killing God. Rantes says that he has come to rescue the innocent. 'Who are the innocent?' the doctor asks. Rantes answers, 'They are the ones trampled by the great march of progress (insensitivity to those who are weaker and more vulnerable); those ravished by horror (holocaust, child abuse, etc.); those whose last hope is gone on Earth (the insane, the pathetically poor, etc.); and the ones that no one sees (the black man in the book 'Black Like Me,' the homeless on the streets, etc.) Rantes says, 'You see them dying and you let them die. You see them begging you for a little help and you brush them aside. You see them starving and you give them nothing to eat. Their only crime is sadness and yet you lock them in a prison. What sort of person adopts such behavior? Who can work among these victims as if they weren’t there and doesn’t care? It might be those who go to church, who dress well, who pay their taxes, and yet they remain a sick human beings. Your reality is a nightmare,' says Rantes. 'Stop lying to yourself and you might see where the truth truly lies and you might stop taking out your guilt on those who truly depend on you, by those trampled by society, the poor in spirit, who can’t buy this b – l l s – –t you’ve been selling anymore than I can.' " 


For anyone who may be interested in seeing “Man Facing Southeast," and possibly in comparing it with the American film “K-Pax,” a less penetrating film based on the same theme, here is a link:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0091214/


Cere
Cere

@MaryElizabethSings @Cere 

Jesus and movies aside, I know reprehensible, dismissive, hypocritical, repugnant behavior when I see it. And I have no problem with calling it out.

EdUktr
EdUktr

@OriginalProf

Bernie-Olivia is a known race-baiter and barely literate fool, who only you consistently defend in this column.

Because you're unwilling to see fault in any black argument.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@bu2 

Good.  This entire issue, which involves an aspect of the First Amendment that hasn't been much clarified, needs to be settled in court---especially since it now seems that this SAE chant is a longtime standing chant with the fraternity at other chapters. So it doesn't just involve the individuals on the bus. (And having black SAE members only proves that it wasn't sung around them.)

bu2
bu2

@OriginalProf @bu2 

There are at least 3 separate issues.


SAE is a campus organization, not an individual.  Even then, they should get due process.


The two students expelled because they sang an obnoxious song around friends are a 1st amendment, due process and consistent treatment issue (football players that smash in a women's face deserve a 2nd chance at OU).


The remaining SAEs who got branded by Boren and kicked out of their homes with 48 hours notice are a 3rd issue.


The Oklahoma SAEs have hired a lawyer, one with a rather interesting history-Timothy McVeigh and Black activists in the 60s.  http://newsok.com/ousted-university-of-oklahoma-fraternity-hires-prominent-attorney-stephen-jones/article/5401059

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@bu2 @OriginalProf 

I anticipate several more blog-threads on the subject. Before I retired, I served on University committees that revised the student code of conduct after an incident involving a fraternity and racial harassment; and I can tell you that the surrounding issues are complicated.

bu2
bu2

@OriginalProf 

Correction-it wasn't Black activists, it was a student carrying a Viet Cong flag he was defending, another 1st amendment case.

Lexi3
Lexi3

@OriginalProf @bu2 

Might be complicated to non-lawyers, but the Supreme Court has made it clear to the legal profession.

Lee_CPA2
Lee_CPA2

@bu2

I would say there is a fouth issue. I'm sure the SAE has a contract with OU and SAE has written contracts with each fraternity member who is residing in that house.  There are several contractual breaches that occured as a direct result of OU unilaterally shutting down the fraternity (without due process) and evicting the residents.

The lawyers on gonna get rich in this sorry mess.

bu2
bu2

@Lee_CPA2 @bu2 

In one of those articles they said some SAEs had been assaulted and they were afraid to go to class.  If true, Boren has created a hostile atmosphere for all SAEs, not just the ones singing.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@bu2 @Lee_CPA2 

It's come out that this song is common to other SAE chapters across the country.  I would say that the UO SAEs created that atmosphere for themselves.

Lexi3
Lexi3

@bu2 @Lee_CPA2 


Boren is a pandering, omniscient democrat politician. He doesn't care about innocent SAEs, who represent the "one percent" white privilege class. They must all share collective guilt and be punished to spare the sensibilities of people who can't bear to hear bad words.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@bu2 @OriginalProf @Lee_CPA2 

My point was that if the UO SAE's are now experiencing a "hostile atmosphere" at their home university, then they have caused it. I find it interesting that the conversation here is turning to make the SAEs the victims in this incident. And if the song about lynching "N**ers" before allowing them in the fraternity is one taught to the new pledges, as seems clear, then it would seem that the entire chapter deserves to be sanctioned. It is creating a hostile University atmosphere for students.


But I expect this will all come out at the trial.

Quidocetdiscit
Quidocetdiscit

@Lexi3 @bu2 @Lee_CPA2


Lexi3,


I dare say if someone started suggesting that you be hung from a tree, and called you the vilest name you could think of, you would consider it a bit more than "bad words."

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@Lexi3 @Quidocetdiscit @bu2 @Lee_CPA2 

I may not be a lawyer, but I know enough about the history of legal decisions pertaining to the First Amendment to know that the issue is not nearly as cut-and-dried as you make it. Each case before the SC had particulars that were taken into account. I don't think you can assume that you know how they would rule in this case.

Lexi3
Lexi3

@OriginalProf @Lexi3 @Quidocetdiscit @bu2 @Lee_CPA2 



You don't need to trust my opinion. Trust your soulmates-the ACLU.: "It is difficult to imagine a situation in which a court would side with the university on this matter,..." Sorry, the question is so well settled the Supreme Court would not even review the decisions of the courts below--if it got that far. And, it wouldn't


bu2
bu2

@OriginalProf @bu2 @Lee_CPA2 


So because some Blacks are criminals, all Blacks should be branded?

Because some Democratic politicians are thieves, all Democrats should be treated as thieves?

Because of 911, all Arabs should be subject to harassment and assaults?

Because some police are racists, all should be shot at?


OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@Lexi3 @OriginalProf @Quidocetdiscit @bu2 @Lee_CPA2 

Thank you for the compliment re. ACLU, although you may not  have meant it as one. (My friends have often said that I should have gone into the practice of Law instead of college teaching if I wanted to make some real money.  But I have always replied that if I did, I would have become an ACLU lawyer, and made even less.)

Lexi3
Lexi3

@OriginalProf @Lexi3 @Quidocetdiscit @bu2 @Lee_CPA2 


You are welcome. And, if you were an ACLU lawyer you'd be fighting for the right of the SAEs to sing that song, despite your own prejudices.


You might also be horrified to learn that, outside of government, most lawyers do not have guaranteed lifetime work and defined benefit pensions. 

And the beat goes on...
And the beat goes on...

Talk to any neurobiologist or psychologist, and he will quickly tell you that 18-21 year-olds are not adults are far as brain maturation is concerned.  Legally, they are young adults, but their brains are still developing, and they still do impulsive, stupid things.  I think if any of us who are over 30 think back, we can all recall instances of extreme poor judgement.  Should this excuse poor behavior?  Of course not.  However, I do think Dr. Dixon is correct, and her comments are right on target.  Any of us with children would certainly appreciate Dr. Dixon's approach to helping our children learn from their mistakes.  But since these young men aren't our children, burn them at the stake.  How hypocritical!  

Cere
Cere

@And the beat goes on... Heck, talking to young black men when they make poor choices in an attempt to enlighten them, rather than punishing them isn't even ever suggested. Not even by Rev. Dr. Maria Dixon Hall. Hopefully she will write another essay about it.

Cere
Cere

@And the beat goes on... Funny how this never comes up in the courts when the police arrest and the judges sentence young black men for non-violent and drug use crimes. "Oh" they're just young. Their frontal lobes aren't in yet. Let's just let them 'realize' the error of their ways by talking with them so that they can learn from their mistakes. They don't realize the seriousness of their actions. Let's work to enlighten their thinking... Nope. Doesn't happen. Perhaps it should... but it certainly doesn't.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

I just saw on cnn.news that the national SAE fraternity is investigating this:

" Former members of the fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, claimed on social media that the same chant was used at colleges in other states, and University of Oklahoma officials investigating the episode said they did not believe the song had originated on their campus."

Kind of changes things if this little ditty is an SAE tradition....

bu2
bu2

@OriginalProf 


Not sure how it changes things.  I never thought it originated there.  Sounds like a song that originated in the 60s and was passed down.  SAE tends to be old money is what I have heard.  It is very strong in the Deep South and was founded in Alabama before the Civil War.  The 2 students who were expelled were from two schools-one of the top college prep private schools in Dallas and the wealthiest and one of the best public High Schools in Dallas.  Since they went to Oklahoma, they almost certainly didn't have the grades and class rank to get into Texas or Texas A&M.


The University of Texas is reviewing claims it was sung there.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@bu2 @OriginalProf 

Well, the context might change the way the "First Amendment" argument plays. The First Amendment has always exempted "fighting words" from its coverage, and "N*gger" has long been a prime example of a word or phrase that would cause the average person to fight. It also goes a long way to justifying the quick decision by the UO President to oust the SAE chapter, for I'm sure he had heard about the other chapters too.  And if it is a "familiar" SAE chant, then those who sang it weren't just spur-of-the-moment racists who deserve forgiveness for a youthful mishap, as some here have argued.

Lexi3
Lexi3

@OriginalProf @bu2 

"The First Amendment has always exempted "fighting words" from its coverage, and "N*gger" has long been a prime example of a word or phrase that would cause the average person to fight."

********************

Depends on the setting. And, the thought police broadly overstate the doctrine of "Fighting words" when they adopt and justify unconstitutional speech codes.


In Gooding v. Wilson, 405 U.S. 518 (1972), "the Court citing  Cohen v. California,  405 U.S. 518 (1972), stated that speech that is 'vulgar or offensive…is protected by the First and Fourteenth Amendments... [But] the Supreme Court has effectively limited the exception to only include abusive language, exchanged face to face, which would likely provoke a violent reaction." 'http://www.thefire.org/misconceptions-about-the-fighting-words-exception/


The essence is a declaration in one's face, not hearing long after the fact a recording of a drunken ditty sung to a receptive audience of lickered-up white frat boys. The ACLU is correct-it's not even a close case

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@Lexi3 @OriginalProf @bu2 

I checked your link, and its emphasis seems different from the one you give it.


"The fighting words doctrine, as originally announced in Chaplinsky, found that two types of speech were not protected—words that by their very utterance inflict injury, and speech that incites an immediate breach of the peace.
 
It is the former category that has spawned most of the confusion. Campus censors frequently cite this to legally justify policies that prohibit offensive or indecent language, even though subsequent case law has effectively invalidated this portion of Chaplinsky’s holding."

Not much here about the second category of "speech that incites an immediate breach of the peace."  "Lynching" and "N**ger," especially when directed at one group, seem to fit this. 

Lexi3
Lexi3

@OriginalProf @Lexi3 @bu2 



Sorry OP, I recognize that you are not a lawyer, but the article and the law could not be clearer. Chaplinsky was distinguished almost from birth and, as the author points out, there is very little left of the "fighting words exception."


"Gooding was the nail in the coffin—if the fighting words exception has any real vitality left at all (and many commentators, including Nadine Strossen, think it is essentially dead) the Supreme Court has effectively limited the exception to only include abusive language, exchanged face to face, which would likely provoke a violent reaction…..[A] federal appeals courts invalidated, on free speech grounds, a punishment for a fraternity that hosted an “ugly woman” contest featuring a performer in blackface. Iota Xi Chapter of Sigma Chi Fraternity v. George Mason University., 993 F.2d 386 (4th Cir. 1993). These cases demonstrate, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that public colleges cannot constitutionally punish indecent or offensive speech merely by branding the speech ‘fighting words.’ “ (emphasis supplied).


Lexi3
Lexi3

@OriginalProf 


"1 day ago-I just saw on cnn.news that the national SAE fraternity is investigating this..."


The same folks who gave us the fictitious "Hand's Up, Don't shoot" reports, for weeks?

atln8tiv
atln8tiv

Timing is everything. Had this situation not been brought to light in the wake of Ferguson and other recent deaths of black men, it quite likely would have been quietly swept under the rug as no doubt many other similar situations have been before.


I don't feel sorry for these young men, and am glad to see someone take immediate action to make it clear that this kind of behavior won't be tolerated. This IS their teachable moment; they are just having to learn a very important lesson in probably the hardest way possible.


What I find troubling about the whole mess, is 1) wondering if OU's President has ever uttered something so inappropriate (and if so, how long before that shoe drops), and 2) there were black members of this fraternity at OU that spoke out in support of the frat mother, so if this song was widely known among the fraternity members, why did no black frat brother speak out about it earlier? Was the song only sung to white members? In any case, there are no excuses for the behavior and it should most definitely NOT be tolerated by any public institution, especially one of higher learning.

atln8tiv
atln8tiv

@RichardKPE @atln8tiv I'm not suggesting that universities banish words that might be interpreted as insensitive. These students were promoting a racist song, encouraging their members to sing along, essentially attempting to inculcate those beliefs into their members. 

RichardKPE
RichardKPE

@atln8tiv Out of curiosity, if institutions of higher learning banished everyone who ever said a racially sensitive word, how many students do you think would be left?


I fear the day where words are no longer tolerated.  We may already be there.


Keep in mind that the "behavior" you're referring to is saying words.  Nothing criminal of any kind (well, what the OU president and SAE did in response is criminal, but that's another story).