BSU speaker: 1 million new jobs can be created by supporting black-owned businesses

The Black Student Union event for the 2016 Black History Month presents keynote speaker Maggie Anderson, who discusses why she and her family spent a year only buying from black-owned businesses, on Feb. 9, 2016, in the K-State Alumni Center Ballroom. (Jessica Robbins | The Collegian)

Maggie Anderson has been recognized across America for her book “Our Black Year,” which is about the Empowerment Experiment, a year-long experiment Anderson and her family conducted. During this experiment, they only bought products from black-owned businesses.

“Maggie Anderson has given up a lot to try and help the black community,” RaShaun Chambers, freshman in sociology, said. “She is really inspiring and has brought a lot of attention to the issues not very many people think of.”

K-State’s Black Student Union hosted Maggie Anderson as its keynote speaker for Black History Month on Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the K-State Alumni Center Ballroom.

Anderson said black-owned businesses need to be supported more.

“They work hard to support their community,” Anderson said.

She also said it is a struggle to keep black-owned businesses operating.

“It is crazy to think the most successful black-owned bank makes $84 million a year, while the most successful Asian bank makes $30 billion,” Anderson said.

While working on her Empowerment Experiment, Anderson was accused of being racist on multiple occasions. She addressed these accusations by saying “it was hurtful and painful to be called racist.”

“After my black year, all those businesses we used, that are in my documentary, they’re all gone,” Anderson said.

Some companies provide products for black women and use their faces as representatives, but none of their suppliers are black-owned, Anderson said.

“L’Oreal uses beautiful black models, supplies black women, but no black suppliers,” Anderson said.

L’Oreal has bought out several black-owned businesses, Anderson said.

“Black businesses really do need to be brought to attention,” Clay Cubbage, freshman in business administration, said. “In order to reach out to the younger black community and inspire them, we need more examples of what they can be. Anderson did a great job bringing this to light.”

Anderson said the support of the black community can help businesses and companies thrive.

“We can create 1 million new jobs just by supporting black businesses,” Anderson said. “Companies supported by the black community should help support and bring up black-owned businesses.”

Jenner Burch, sophomore in horticulture, said it was surprising to hear how many jobs have actually been created by black-owned businesses.

“I was blown away by the idea of 1 million jobs being created just by supporting black businesses,” Burch said. “I can see the reason she is so passionate about her cause — it can make a difference if enough people take action on the idea.”