Book Review: Sweet Potato or Pumpkin Pie: Conversations with My White Friends about Race by William T. Lewis Sr., MSW, PhD

I had the opportunity to meet Dr. Lewis, diversity and inclusion consultant and author of Sweet Potato or Pumpkin Pie, last month at the Evolve Juneteenth panel held at the Crossnore Communities for Children. After hearing about Lewis’s work, I wanted to read his book.

One of the thoughts that comes back to me is “we must talk with each other before the crisis, so that we can hear each other during the crisis, which will help us to heal each other after the crisis.” And what a great way to start talking to others by discussing their favorite pie. But don’t let the conversations stop with pie. We need to begin having authentic conversations. We need to move away from the idea of being “color-blind” to becoming color conscious. “A color-blind worldview is misguided and, in fact, dangerous as it replicates the system of oppression.”

A way to begin conversations according to Lewis is to consider where you fall along the “Ally Continuum” that describes how you can move from ally to accomplice to coconspirator.

Becoming an “ally” or “woke” doesn’t happen overnight. Lewis describes this as a process that includes having conversations about racism, reading books, watching movies and moving to a place where you aren’t a bystander observing racism in America.

The coconspirator is at the end of the continuum, but doesn’t mean the journey is over. “The coconspirator will call people out and call people in…action and sacrifice are common threads woven throughout the entire ally continuum.”

We all have a responsibility in creating a more perfect world. I encourage you to read Lewis’s book and to further your journey. Each chapter includes questions at the end to jumpstart conversations.

Free event with Dr. Lewis and his wife on Monday, July 25 from 4 to 5 p.m. Register here:

You can purchase your copy of the book here:

Books and movies to consider:

Published by Liza Weidle

As a savvy connector with a passion for making the world better, I am known as a good listener and resource immersed in learning trends, tackling challenges, and helping organizations translate vision into actionable, results-driven strategies. In other words, I get the job done!

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