Juan Battle is a Professor of Sociology, Public Health, & Urban Education at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (C.U.N.Y.).
Prof. Battle is a Fulbright Senior Specialist and was the Fulbright Distinguished Chair of Gender Studies at the University of Klagenfurt, Austria. His research interests include race, sexuality, and social justice. Further, he is a recent president of the Association of Black Sociologists and is actively involved with the American Sociological Association (ASA).
Question: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Juan Battle: The best advice I think I ever received came from my grandmother who passed away a year, maybe two years ago. I have an extremely, very large, loud laugh and my grandmother said to me once, “Don’t ever let them take your laugh.” And I just, as do all black or probably white, even, grandmothers who grow up in the South, everything is wrapped in these parables. Nothing is ever explicitly just stated, and that idea of never let them take your laugh. I mean never let the world take that which feeds you, which sustains you, which takes care of you, which makes you uniquely who you are on the planet. That’s what I took that to mean, of never let them take your laugh.
Recorded on March 2, 2010