Should servicemen and women be exposed to material some might deem anti-American? There are two answers to this question: the first, which addresses the specific case of Spike Lee’s Malcolm X, and the second, which appeals to the universal right to free speech usually espoused by those on the political right, but seemingly abandoned in this case.
One might think of the covert, sometimes illegal FBI surveillance of the Black Panthers, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr. and various other political dissidents as the petri dish where experiments with overreach were conducted years before they were unleashed on the general public. It is only within past decade or so that we are learning just how extensive the surveillance was through the Freedom of Information Act. It is only now that people like artist Sadie Barnette are beginning to come to terms with what it means.