The black students at many universities in the United States are spewing this kind of rhetoric (direct quote from a video):
"This university owes us everything. This was built on the back of my people, and I owe you none of you guys anything. We own white people nothing."
This complete horseshit, and blatant opportunism and, ultimately, greed.
Firstly universities in the United States were not built "on the back of [black] people" (ie. implying that without the contribution of black people, which in this context is implied to mean slaves, the universities wouldn't even exist.)
The oldest universities in the United states were built in the 1600's (the first one being Harvard University, founded in 1636.) The slave trade did not become prominent until the 1700's and 1800's.
Slavery in the United States may have had an economic impact on the country. But how much of it did it have, and how much did universities benefit from it? It's pure speculation. However, what is much clearer is that universities were not built thanks to slave labor, and it's just incorrect to insinuate that they wouldn't exist without slaves.
Secondly, let's just assume for a moment, for the sake of argument, that slavery did have a huge impact in the proliferation of universities in the United States. It most probably did not have that much of an impact, but let's just assume for a moment that it really did.
The question is: How much do you, as a modern black person, deserve credit and recognition from that?
Answer: None. Nada. Nil.
You did not help build the universities. You did not work to help them proliferate. You have done absolutely nothing to deserve anything.
You cannot appropriate the merits of your distant ancestors any more than I can (even assuming that those ancestors did indeed have such a huge impact on the proliferation of universities.)
I cannot just go to you and tell you: "Hey, show me some respect. My ancestors, my "people", developed science, technology and medicine for centuries, and helped our progress. You wouldn't be using computers, driving cars, going to the doctor to get cured, if it weren't for "my people". I don't owe you anything. You owe me everything."
If I actually said that, it would be really, really obnoxious. I would be appropriating the work of distant people who just happen to share a trait with me, and claiming credit for it, even though I myself did not contribute anything to it.
Well, my friend, you are being really, really obnoxious, appropriating the work of your distant ancestors, and claiming credit for it, and demanding ownership of things you have never, ever done or owned. You are just riding on the shoulders of others, and want a piece of the cake for free, without having any rights to it, without any personal merit.
No, your skin color does not entitle you to anything, you racist piece of shit. You deserve credit and recognition for what you have done, not what people hundreds of years ago have done. You cannot appropriate the work of others simply because you share the same skin color. You are no different from white supremacists who think that they are superior simply because of their skin color. I have zero respect for racists.