Poussaint to speak on tolerance and diversity

An expert on race relations, prejudice and diversity issues in a multicultural society, Alvin Poussaint, M.D., will present the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Lecture for the Assembly Series. The talk will be held at 4 p.m., Tuesday, April 15, in the Laboratory Sciences Auditorium on the campus of Washington University in St. Louis.

Poussaint, professor of psychiatry and faculty associate dean for student affairs at Harvard Medical School, is director of the Media Center of the Judge Baker Children’s Center in Boston. He also is an advocate for reducing the influence of advertising in children’s lives.

Poussaint believes that extreme (violent) racists suffer from a delusional mental illness. He lectures widely on college campuses and serves as a consultant to government agencies and private corporations. In addition, he is active as a media consultant on a wide range of social issues. He is concerned with media images and issues regarding the needs of children and the changing family; he has been active in the national TV rating and V-chip discussions. He is a strong proponent of nonviolent parenting and parenting education.

Poussaint co-wrote “Come on People: On the Path from Victims to Victors” with activist comedian Bill Cosby. He also worked as a script consultant on Cosby’s popular sitcom, “The Cosby Show.” It was Poussaint’s job to review scripts and consult on psychological and educational issues to avoid inappropriate humor or stereotypes.

He is the author of “Why Blacks Kill Blacks” and co-authored “Raising Black Children,” as well as “Lay My Burden Down: Suicide and the Mental Health Crisis Among African Americans.”

Born in East Harlem, he attended Columbia University and earned a medical degree from Cornell University in 1960. He completed his postgraduate training at the University of California, Los Angeles, Neuropsychiatric Institute. At UCLA, he pursued research in psychopharmacology.