Banter Bites

Start Breaking Things Today

Pointing out bias may seem negative, but it can lead to positive change.

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Red, as a lover of history, likes that March is Women’s History Month and she’s inspired by all the stories of women’s accomplishments; but Black prefers International Women’s Day, with its emphasis not only on raising awareness but looking toward the future and making positive change.


Red will admit that she first learned about International Women’s Day last year and that the 2021 theme, “Women in Leadership,” made her think about women and leadership skills differently. As did Black’s insight based on her years in corporate management, especially as it was in the oil and gas industry, a field notoriously run by the “good ole’ boys” (or, at least, it was back then).

But when Red learned that this year’s theme is #BreakTheBias, she, well, had to laugh because if there was anyone that seemed not only to break biases, but to approach it as a challenge, almost defying the opposition, it would be her sister,

Black’s always had a strong personality and gone after what she wants. Whether being one of the few women in business school back in the 70s, excelling in a male-dominated industry, or racing Ferraris. But much to my amusement, I had to point out to her that she’s a role model for not only her nieces but many other girls, proving they can do anything. And I’m guessing along the way, she changed many people’s (male and female) preconceived notions of what a woman can do.

Black quickly points out that the first step to overcoming biases or prejudices is to recognize we all have them. That’s why International Women’s Day’s so important – by celebrating women’s achievements, we’re also helping to identify, and hopefully, overcome biases. But sometimes, those biases are where you least expect them,

Besides there being a fascinating phenomenon (well, I find it fascinating) known as “confirmation bias,” I have seen where a bias can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Red, a straight-A student with a degree from a prestigious university, was convinced that she could not “do” personal finance. Which, unfortunately, is a stereotype that many people have about women. Red was not only her own worst enemy but, by “accepting” the misconception, perpetuated it. Until I forced her to face the truth, anyone can “do” personal finance.

So, as we celebrate International Women’s Day, and strive toward women’s equality, maybe we should each identify one bias we think needs breaking and work toward that end goal – either on our own or by joining together with others. Because if we look at today as the start of the process, imagine what we can accomplish

Black can’t help but think backward (more on that below), but Red always thought being told that you do things backward was an insult, not a compliment. Except, maybe, on National Backward Day, when everyone is encouraged to have a bit of fun, shake up the “normal” way of doing things, and maybe even find a better way of doing some things. Or at least to try a different perspective. And if nothing works, you can follow Black’s advice to Red and say, “Dammit, I’m mad”! Which she quickly pointed out is a palindrome – a word, sentence, verse, or number that reads the same backward or forward.

Since when does doing something backward mean you're doing it wrong?

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Red, still that straight-A student, has always tried to do things the “right” way, which has meant looking at things in a very traditional way; while Black, who doesn’t think like most “mere mortals” (as Red's fond of telling her) looks at things in a very different, or perhaps even “backward”, way.

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Empowering girls – one cookie at a time. Ok, maybe one box of cookies at a time.

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: It’s that time of year when many people’s New Year’s resolution of eating better is challenged by the arrival of Girl Scout cookies; something that poses a problem for Red, while for Black, it's an opportunity.

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Two years ago, on MLK Day, Red learned the power and inspiration of the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. And the power of dreams. And as long as there's social unrest and social injustice in the United States (stop and think about the first word … as we’re supposed to be united), the more we can learn from him … as not only did he fight for equality for all, but his approach is proof of the power of peaceful protests.

For most of us, writing and delivering one powerful and/or inspiring thing would be a very difficult task. To be remembered for hundreds is truly amazing.

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: There's so much one can say about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who led the civil rights movement from the mid-1950s until his assassination in 1968, and whose leadership was fundamental to the ending of legal segregation in many parts of the United States. But regardless of your position on segregation, it's almost impossible not to acknowledge, yet alone appreciate, how incredibly powerful and inspiring his words were and the impact they continue to have on the civil rights movement. But don't believe us. This goodreads post provides more than just a good read, it's a seemingly endless list of inspirational quotes while a great "refresher" course on Dr. King is available at History.com.