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All Black Lives Will Never Matter for Clinton and Trump

When race was discussed in last night’s presidential debate, Trump pointed to his Palm Beach club, Mar-a-Lago, as evidence of his anti-racism. While other clubs their denied membership to blacks, Trump’s club accepted them.

As for Clinton, she spoke of countering the prison industrial complex, building trust between black communities and police officers, and acknowledging that black men, too, have rights.

Trump came back at Clinton with a quip about her past statements (“super predator”) and proposed that political expediency, as opposed to growing a heart (a la the Grinch), is what’s throwing Clinton into the throes of Black Lives Matter and other such activist groups.

In addition to the Black Lives Matter moms, Clinton has the support of Barack Obama, Beyonce, Kerry Washington, and even Ja Rule. All booster Clinton’s image as more anti-racist than Trump. But whether it’s Clinton, Trump, Obama, Bush, or whoever, no president of America will ever truly value all black lives.

American and capitalism are one in the same. A sharpe summation of capitalism’s lethal relationship to race comes from writer and academic Yasmin Nair. In her essay in False Choices: The Faux Feminism Hillary Rodham Clinton, Nair writes, “Capital flows unimpeded while the surplus bodies, the most marginal and disposable that enable its movements, are scrutinized, surveilled, and ultimately brutalized into the ever-expanding prison industrial complex.”

Neither Clinton nor Trump will change the way “capital flows.” Both espouse a kind of Palm Beach diversity, where Black Lives Matter if that life is wealthy and generates profits for the corporations that help govern America.

So Beyonce’s life matters due to her relationships with slave-drivers such as H&M and Pepsi. As for Beyonce’s husband (for now), Jay-Z, his life matters due to his relationship with gentrifying giants such as the Barclays Center. Of course, Barack Obama’s life matters: he brought back the banks (thereby saving capitalism… yippee!)

It seem that whenever black people are praised, they are inevitably the black people that have transformed their “marginal,” “disposable,” “surplus body” into an indispensable source of capitalism.

I really like ballet, so I recently watched A Ballerina’s Tale, the documentary on American Ballet Theatre’s first black principal dancer, Misty Copeland. In the movie, Copeland’s manager, Gilda Squire, tells how Copeland, before she was named a principal, had already won due to endorsements deal with corporations like Under Armour and Coach.

With B, Jay, Barack, and Misty, black success, empowerment, hope (or whatever pseudo “progressive” term comes to mind) are synonymous with integration into elitist capitalism. It’s a Palm Beach anti-racism. If you have the wealth, you’re in (three cheers for tolerance!). But if you have to work a day shift at Whole Foods and a night shift at CVS  and still can’t afford rent or food for your kids, then you’re fucked, and neither Trump nor Clinton will change the system that’s fucking you.

Seth Oelbaum is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame, where he studied creative writing and literature. For the past three years, he was Managing Editor at StyleLikeU, an alternative fashion organization whose viral videos have lead to worldwide press coverage and a global movement.
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