“Black Lives Matter” was never a “movement,” except in the literal sense. Like Occupy, it’s an itinerant band of professional protesters who display their devotion to the cause by going wherever grievances are ripe for exploitation. Their purpose persists only as long as such tensions do. They’re the Deadheads of racial grievance, and McKesson is their id, tweeting and snapchatting and instagramming his self-righteous aphorisms, continually reassuring 164,000 Twitter followers that things are far worse than they ever thought.
What McKesson has figured out, which the Reverend Al never did, is that you need something more than a megaphone and a mob. This next-generation race-baiter has absorbed the argot of the academy, recognized that it is the closest thing to a self-powering engine of racial outrage as has yet been devised, and figured out how to package it for a mass audience. After all, if nearly anything can be filtered through the infinitely elastic abstractions of “whiteness” and “blackness,” there will always be something to be up in arms about.