What Keeps Juan Battle Up at Night?
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 keeps you up at night?
Juan Battle: I’m really a bad person for that because I have a very strong spirit of sleep. When I get tired I’m going to sleep, so I mean I think that is one reason why I can be so productive because I don’t toss and turn. There are two levels. There is sort of just me and then there is the world. On a personal level, the just me, I oftentimes say to my partner Michael, you know I’m the flavor of the month, but I have enough sense to realize that even the longest month only last for 31 days and on that 32nd day I don’t want to look up and think I wasted my time, that I was worrying about the wrong thing, that I was affecting change in the wrong way or that what I was doing was somehow insufficient and if I had just thought about it I could had a bigger impact, so that is on a personal level. On a more broad world level it’s just issues of social justice. There is a TV show, the “Actor’s Studio” I think it’s called, and they ask those questions at the end of the interview and one of them is, “If heaven exists and you make it, what do you want to hear God say?” My answer has always been if heaven exists and if I make it to the pearly gates and I bump into the greater being you know I don’t want to hear, “Great job Juan.” Or, “You made a difference Juan.” Or, “Welcome, come on in.” I don’t want to hear that. I could care less. The conversation I want to have is you know, “Juan, human suffering, there was a point.” “Come on in, sit down and I’ll explain it to you.”
Recorded on March 2, 2010
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