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On Tuesday's MSNBC morning kaffeeklatsch, Morning Joe, the shameless and corrupt commentator Mike Barnicle said the following during a group discussion about the Trayvon Martin killing:

There are still two Americas. That access to the future that so many people feel they have. Young African-American males don't feel they have that same access. And I would challenge anyone who doesn't believe this to get out of the car in an African-American neighborhood and ask the first five young men they meet to define the future. What does the future mean to them? They might talk about something—"Uh, Friday night I'm going to a ballgame, or whatever." Go to the suburbs—go to an affluent white suburb—and ask five young white males to define their future: "I'm going to Harvard" or "I'm getting a high-tech job." It's different.

Putting words in the mouths of imaginary subjects has always been good enough for Mike Barnicle. But why not talk to some actual young black people, rather than having a white gasbag guess what they might say? So Gawker took Mike Barnicle up on his challenge and asked five young black people we know the question, "What does the future look like to you?" Below are their answers (edited for length and clarity).

Reese, 10, Phoenix, AZ

What does the future look like to you?

I will be living in a small dorm room in college with a roommate that is my best friend. Then I'll graduate from college, get married, and have kids.

What do you want to study in college?

I don't know.

Terry, 16, Port Arthur, TX

What does the future look like to you?

I want to play football at UT Austin.

What do you want to do after college?

Play pro football, hopefully.

In Texas?


Irie, 11, Phoenix, AZ

What does the future look like to you?

I'd like to be a professional athlete or, if sports don't work out, a police officer. Either way I want to go to college.

What college?

I like Stanford a lot.

Andrew, 14, Bellflower, CA

What does the future look like to you?

Though as a 14 year-old I still have much time to mature and mend my thoughts, hopes, and dreams, I still have a pretty strong future plan mapped out. I currently see my future looking very good, with loads of opportunities.

My grades are awesome as hell right now, and my test scores even better, which can most definitely lead to good things. I plan to be an artist as well as an athlete, but also to master the art of engineering and the most challenging of mathematics. I aim to work in cinematography, music, and visual arts. I'm also to become a world-renowned track and field star, honing my athletic ability to a world-class level.

While going through college, I plan to study engineering and calculus. Achieving a goal of this magnitude will be hard, I know. But I believe I have the willpower, intuitiveness, and talent to do such things.

Maryam, 21, Pine Bluff, AR

What does the future look like to you?

I'll be in the social justice space, working to connect some of the 50 million hungry Americans with food. After, I want to get my JD/MPP at Harvard. I'd like to use my degrees to do more impactful public interest work and one day run for public office. Honestly, I'm trying to break some glass ceilings, close some gaps, and not embarrass my parents while doing so.

And there you have it: Ask five black young people what their futures look like and it seems as if all of them have the exact same hopes as affluent white children—some of them even dare to dream of attending Harvard! What are different, of course, are the opportunities given to black kids to reach their goals, opportunities often afforded them by powerful white adults like Mike Barnicle, who for some reason believes black children are inherently ready to accept a life of mediocrity.

If you've got black children at home, please, ask them what their futures look like and leave their answers in the comments.