The Folk Devil Made Me Do It : Code Switch What moral panics reveal about the ongoing freakout over critical race theory in schools.

The Folk Devil Made Me Do It

The Folk Devil Made Me Do It

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1029775224/1033137163" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
LA Johnson/NPR
Giant man yelling, spewing fire, anger, panic, terror.
LA Johnson/NPR

Can you remember another fall when back-to-school season was so contentious? Right now, all over the country, parents and politicians and school administrators are fighting over how to run their schools, whether students should even come back to the classrooms, and if they do, whether they should be forced to where masks. And that's all before we get into the fights over what's being taught in schools.

Pages torn out of a book.
LA Johnson/NPR

That's right: We're talking about critical race theory. The fight over CRT has been raging for months now, and it's gotten contentious. But all the anger and anxiety and fear about a "dangerous curriculum" that few people can even define — all that seemed kind of familiar. Like, we've been here before.

So this week, we're taking a look at what moral panics can teach us about the critical race theory freakout. And buckle up, kids, because as it turns out, the history of moral panics is long and windy.

Code Switch's Moral Panic/CRT Curriculum

Sam Yellowhorse Kesler contributed to this report.