Essay On Eugenics And The Satanism Panic

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The popularity of Eugenics in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century as well as the panic over Satanism in the late twentieth century are examples of moral panics. Eugenics gained popularity because people became worried that the human species itself was changing due to integration of people by race and ethnicity. The Satanism Panic was a time of collective anxiety in the U.S. over the perceived threat of cults that would sexually abuse and kill children.
Thompson (1998) names two characteristics researchers agree moral panics share: concern and hostility (p. 9). Both Eugenics and the Satanism panic demonstrate public concern and hostility. In the case of Eugenics, people were concerned about issues ranging from crime to low intelligence. People were more hostile toward people of color because they saw them as a threat to the future of humanity, even going so far as to kill those seen as genetically inferior. In the case of the Satanism panic, people were worried about their children being hurt. Some showed hostility to those they believed were Satanists. For example, 4,000 dollars of damage was done to music equipment in a warehouse said to be the meeting place of Satanists (Victor 1998:29).
Thompson (1998) points out that a moral panic is called
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Victor (1998) writes “kidnapping rumors are metaphors for parental worries about their children 's future in a society which is perceived to be unsafe for children” (p. 52). In the case of the Satanic panic, one concrete negative consequence of this fear about children was that the rumors led to parents to take their kids out of school for a day. Although it was only a day, missing school impacts a child’s education. Ironically, better-educated people were less susceptible to believing the rumors about Satanism, and thus didn’t take their kids out of
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