The first question is an obvious one that nobody asks: what exactly are blacks owed? You can't say any group is owed equal outcomes, because then a group—like blacks—could just be pathological forever and keep getting coddled forever.
It could be "privilege", but unequal outcomes are not themselves evidence of unequal opportunity.
But are blacks even owed equal opportunity by whites? The knee-jerk answer for most is "yes", but that's not how the white Southerners saw it in 1865. These were African slaves, they came from Africa, and were not citizens of the United States, but property of people who bought them from black slave traders in Africa.
The notion of "people as property" may seem disgusting, but it was the norm in Africa, and in that sense these blacks, while physically in the United States, were still in Africa in a legal sense. And suddenly, in 1868, they were all granted US citizenship with the passing of the 14th Amendment.
This was imposed upon the former Confederate States of America (which had the majority of black slaves). Every state in the former CSA except Tennessee refused to ratify it. And so the United States Federal Government imposed military governments in each of the former Confederate states, and they passed it.
So the 14th Amendment was of dubious legality in the first place.
Arguably whites had it better than blacks during slavery—though I suggest you read my post on slavery to see the "arguably".
Less arguable is the fact that US citizens (of all races) have it better than Mexican citizens in general. So a bunch of Mexican citizens enter the United States illegally, against the will of the citizens in those states, and then the federal government under Reagan, under George H.W. Bush, then under Obama, grants big chunks of these people citizenship.
Under Reconstruction (1865 to 1877), the former CSA was required to have equal funding for schools for blacks and whites. One of the major perceived injustices regarding illegal immigration to the US is how illegals get in-state tuition for college, and get to go to public schools despite not being citizens.
There are four ways to respond to this comparison between illegal immigrants and black citizenship:
One way is to say, "yes, this comparison is apt; black citizenship was dubious in 1868 and the whites in the South were rightfully angry".
Another way is to say, "yes, this comparison is apt, US opposition to illegal immigration is just as bigoted and baseless as opposition to black citizenship in 1867".
Of course the conservative burger-patriot will say, "The comparison is stupid because I want to believe the 'murka story, of which the goodness of Lincoln and the badness of anti-black sentiment are a central part, while still opposing the mostly Hispanic illegal immigrants".
The fourth way is to just be aware of the similarity of the situations and not rush to some kind of judgment about it. This fourth way is how I react to this and how I think you should react to this.
You think blacks are legitimate US citizens? You think children of illegals, or Reagan Amnesty hispanics, are legitimate US citizens? You think both are? You think neither are?
Whether blacks are legitimate citizens of the US today is an academic point in the sense that their citizenship is never going to be revoked.
But it's relevant when considering the opportunities of blacks - are they owed restitution for the effects of slavery, and the effects of the period known as Jim Crow where their citizenship was questioned? (Whatever those effects are.)
I see the question as similar to "what are the former illegal immigrants owed?" Both groups are people who have acquired citizenship through unconventional means and against the will of the general population, and had some difficulties as a result of some unequal treatment during their march to full citizenship. Though these difficulties are vastly overblown.
So before even getting into facts about the Jim Crow period, I just want to muddy the waters a bit regarding:
- What is evidence of unequal opportunity?—unequal outcomes cannot be used as evidence of unequal opportunity.
- What opportunity are blacks owed anyway?