'99 Problems' but Mitt Ain't One

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I don't much care if it's cliché to say this—we live in amazing times. Slavery is within our memory. In 1996, Jay-Z released Reasonable Doubt. Daisy Anderson, widow of escaped slave and USCT veteran Robert Anderson died two years later. In 2003 Jay-Z released The Black Album, the same year Gertrude Janeway, the last Union war widow died. A year later, Alberta Martin, the last Confederate widow passed.  Not even a decade later the country elected a black president, and Jay-Z is performing his lovely gutter music at his rallies. 


Sometimes I get really down. I look at Sandy and think nothing will ever change. And yet the fact of America is that in its 200-plus years the rate of its moral improvement has been breathtaking. 
No matter what happens tomorrow, I must remember—I fight to remember—that never in my wildest dreams did I see a black man competing for white votes the way Barack Obama has.

This is not the country I thought it was. Also, Jay-Z should have done "Threat" just to see the steam pop out their ears. OK, so maybe not...


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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle. More

Born in 1975, the product of two beautiful parents. Raised in West Baltimore -- not quite The Wire, but sometimes ill all the same. Studied at the Mecca for some years in the mid-'90s. Emerged with a purpose, if not a degree. Slowly migrated up the East Coast with a baby and my beloved, until I reached the shores of Harlem. Wrote some stuff along the way.

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