In the instance, in the moment, of the prophetic vision, found when one has gone to the edge; in the borderlands of society, cast between the dark dreams of slaves and the wretched. Found in the last whispers to loved ones, found in the dreams of burdened souls, of warrior poets, hustling heroes, homegirl goddesses, and homeboy gods. There laying in these fonteras (borders), fields and empty lots; there we find the solace of our oppression. It is the shattered mirror in which we confront ourselves, it is the perpetual moment where we rebel or submit, to affirm or deny the poison world of colonization, slavery, and impoverishment (of soul or body). The perpetual meeting, the everyday events where we meet the distorted refraction that makes us doomed to defeat. Defeated- only if we believe the refraction that is presented to us, presented to us in our appropriated music, in the pervasive and continually glowing television, the propaganda (T.V, radio, billboard, institutional lies), continually we are bombarded with lies about ourselves. There is the instance that I wish to grapple with, the moment of the prophetic; this is abstract territory that becomes concrete in our lives of Men and Women of color in America, which I wish to brake down with you.
As we encounter the lies, told by our selves, by society, by authority, by friends and family, we become conflicted. The soul of color is in constant negation against the dominant oppression not just out of us but also within in us. We are met with expectations, in which we may act upon and meet, or may refuse and move through. It takes an awareness to develop a counter narrative, a resistant consciousness, an outlet of ‘self’, a unification of ‘other’. To be autonomous; both self creating and self perfecting we souls of color must maintain a consciousness that balances who we are as the other against the oppression that constructs us as such. This balance is achieved “in manual” as “in automatically” yet as I experience this, it must be done meticulously, the “self” and the “other”; of who we are (can be, have been, will be) and the oppression that we exist in as well as other in the sense of out side of the “just I”, seeing our community as “We”. The mentioned creation of a counter narrative (the ability to create truth against oppression and freedom against domination) comes in abstract ways, which are subversive as they are creative. We know this; it is in our music, our art, in the pursuits of passionate expression. The question for me is this; how do we break with the old, cut away the actual and reach for the unactualized potential, combining the “political” and the artistic, removing ourselves from oppressive institutions/systems/arrangements and creating “effective” or “ineffective” (as in ineffective for the status-quo) wasy of being on community wide scales? How can we reconcile hate? How can we maneuver through violence? These are questions that I believe can be answered from the standpoint of the consciousness of color; I will explain what I mean by this bellow.
It would be outlandish to assume I alone could develop a discourse that can paint the intricacies and complexities of the multiple consciousness’ that arrive in the diverse variance of subjectivities of the broad spectrum of souls of color. Yet I think I can with precision and clarity create a narrative of my own consciousness, as well as the observations of my comrades, brother, and sisters. Which I will do, yet first I think it best to restate, or pre-state my notion and conception of souls of color for those who have not read or hear it already.
The soul of color is the birthing consciousness of resistance and liberation. She is born from the oppression and colonization of the regimes of truth and power that currently hold throne over the increasingly compacted globe. She is born from the hate and pain of history; she is born of the slave trade, she is born from the sharecropping fields, from the haciendas, the reservation, the Chinatowns, the barrios, the ghetto, the barren soulless suburban wastelands. He is the voice of the refusal to comply and submit to dominant truths, or lies. She is the embodiment of freedom, of decolonization, of joy in the face of mechanical depression and impoverished sprits. The soul of color stands not as an iron pole in the ground, fortified and unmoving, but as the heavy rains of summer, the soul is fluid, its consciousness transcendent. In essence it is the human, it is anti-capital, it is the freedom we speak of in “god-given-rights”, yet as elusive as sound of the timbas or congas and concrete as the project steps.
This description is poetic, it is ideal, it is far from the regime of truth, it is subversive, but as sure as you are reading this, it is real. The soul of color, the consciousness Of Color is the spiritual antithesis to the dominant power structure. It is the resistance embodied in the soul of those who resist the chains and cages of modern technical, total administered, and advanced industrial capitalism. This is more then a lot to chew, we need to dissect this. We also need to discuss how this is embodied and this supposed consciousness, this supposed soul of color arises. First, I say it is subversive, I say it is the antithesis to, whatever the hell I just said, let’s break it down further so we have a good picture of what we’re talking about.
The notion of the soul of color assumes a second truth, one of the consumer and it’s society. This consumer society is the dominated by the power structure of capitalism and race structures; it is dominated by the institutions and individuals that have been a hegemonic force over the globe and in this country. Although discussed elsewhere in my own writing, so too are the effects of the advanced industrial society written on by other greater writers. But briefly, the form of our society, which is dominated by capitalism and its following logics and structures, creates an alienation that goes deep into the root of the human soul. This society conditions a veil; I have written on this veil of consumerhood before, for our purposes and in the context of the soul of color, it is marked by the attack upon the soul of color. This society has through out its existence sought to destroy the soul of color. It has enslaved it, broken it down, cut off its hair, taken its language, and systematically miseducated, indoctrinated us to hate the soul of color, to distance us from the spiritual world, to strive to be within this society, to aim for “luxury” of “being rich”, “making it”, and to buy our way there- at the cost of selling ourselves. And why wouldn’t we? Chained to impoverishment and tolling, degrading labor, our forefathers and mothers sacrificed their blood, their sweat, and their tears just to carve out a space for us (or themselves). And I writing this have reaped the benefits of these sacrifices, sacrifices of the body, and sacrifices of the soul- but I am here to reclaim both, to reclaim the blood, the sweat, the tears, the dreams and the memories.
For this system of oppression and capitalist exploitation is not a solid rock impenetrable, it is not a fortress on the hill invincible, it is the illusion that is so powerful- but illusions are nothing to the eyes of light, nothing to the awoken, they vanish like morning mist, revealing the morning sun. And it is this enlightenment that arises forth the soul of color. The soul is not entitled to anyone- it is not a given in the equation of having come from the oppressed people- it is taken, as in it must be self formulated. Nor is it necessarily restricted to people of the black, brown, red, or yellow phenotype, I am not talking about “allies” of “white” decent, I mean to say that those who reject the white racial identity thrust upon them. A brother by the name of Thandeka in his book Learning to be White: Money, Race, and God in America ends his work by saying this, “With this new beginning, loyalties need no longer be skin-deep. Here God’s broken humanity can be healed. Difference will be affirmed as the grace of human engagement. The term person of color will now refer to every human being. Dare we dream of such a day? Yes. Let the church say Amen.”
That is who has been to the edge, the borderlands of existence, the borderlands of the psyche, of society- in which the possibility of the “prophetic” is encountered. I do not think there is any easy way to come here, it cannot simply be meditated upon, or agreed with; it must be felt, it must be lived, we chicanos say, it takes ganas, real blood; it is stepping into the potential and out of the existing.
 I encourage the reader who is not familiar with the concepts of capitalist exploitation, and the ideas surrounding One Dimensional society, to familiarize yourself with such concepts. I may, and should write summaries and explanations that are more accessible then the texts currently available on such subjects. On the face it may seem “overly” “complicated”, I would argue, to discuss such things it takes a sort of language.