Disproportionality - that's a mouthful. But, it breaks down pretty simply, and I'll offer you a couple of common definitions.
Disproportionality refers to 'being out of proportion.' Simply, it is the over- or under-representation of certain groups, whether that be racial or ethnic, gender, age, community, geographical, or any other method of marginalization.
This word is most often evoked in a public welfare agency work and advocacy - relative to any group’s proportion in the general population and how services are allocated. Disproportionality is caused by disparities that are existent both in society but also in the agencies created by government and private enterprise.
The inevitable outcome of disproportionality leads to disparity: disparity is the unequal or inequitable treatment of one group as compared to another. Disparity occurs when services to one segment of the community, relative to other segments, are presumptively allocated, poorly provided or inadequate in addressing the community’s underlying needs.
It also means that these differences in service delivery are not justifiable based on the community’s identified need, available agency resources or other objective criteria. At its base, disparity tends to imply that 'someone is missing out; someone is lesser.' That's not a good thing -- at least not for them.
The effect is that differences may appear capricious, unnecessary, avoidable, unfair, discriminatory or unjust. For any community, division and disparity are generally bad. We know, from history, that divisions created by humans tend to mean conflict, and conflict means stress. Societal stress, stress on the families and the citizenry. Stress causes ill-health, disease, separation and even trauma.
Often, because of poor coping mechanisms, stress leads to violence. All of these scenarios are clearly bad for health; both of the individual's suffering, but also for the societal costs. Disparity means 'some don't have what others do,' and as has been shown time and again that the continued accumulation of stress (disparity) on the individual is the root cause of much of what ails us - again, as individuals and as a society. Disparity leads to despair.
What to do? Get involved! I know it sounds trite and tedious, but voting. Not for a 'perfect' candidate, but for the values you see that are most important, and that address these issues; there are no perfect candidates, but there are a lot of issues to get to work on. Pick one, educate yourself and then act, in the best way you can.
This stuff is for real, right here in the 'purple' ATX. There are a lot of haves, and a lot of have-nots. What involvement are you taking in making sure our community is equitable, serves the citizens and represents individual and community needs justly and adequately? No guilt, just a gentle challenge!
I'm challenging myself here, as well; I've been bad about voting in the past. I'm sure many can relate, just the major elections, or just 'giving up' and dropping off. That is the natural tendency - but we're in this yoga community that invites and persuades us to do that which isn't easy, but rather that which does service. To keep investigating the reluctance, the resistance...
We come from a place of privilege - we get the time and the bodies and the freedom to do this practice. And, we live in a land that offers us our own franchise, our own voice through voting, equal across the board. There are threats to that, right now - folks who are mis-educating others on their rights to vote; folks who are actively working to discourage people from voting.
Right now, somewhere in the world, someone is dying to have this right. Literally... and I hate that word, but it means what it means here. There are hundreds of thousands of world citizens we live with on this trip; those who have looked to us, for guidance and inspiration. Many thousands of them gave their lives to help create the basis of one-person, one-vote democracies in their home countries...
How dare we - any of us, myself first and foremost - sit here and decide we have better things to do? I'm taking the other side - I don't care for whom or for what, or in what election - school board, county seats, Presidential - just get engaged and vote.
I'm leading a "Consciousness and Fundraiser" today for YOGAVOTES - an effort lead by Off the Mat, Into the World, that is non-partisan and aimed at increasing voter engagement and turnout.
Please come out today to Austin Donation Yoga if you're local - 2:30, we'll flow, discern, contemplate, and talk about how we can get folks who aren't registered to get in the game, and get those who are but have lapsed to get off the bench!
What do you think - still stuck on the 'perfect' candidate? How much do you agree with your friends, your partner, your family?? Well, chalk it up to life. Pick the greatest congruence - if that means you have to vote 'against' one of your values, use that same political spectrum and activism to work on that issue to address your needs.
It's tough. I'm asking y'all to engage, to get informed and to act on your vision, your values and your voice - the VOTE!
Here are some Travis County Resources:
WHERE TO VOTE
HELP YOUR FRIENDS REGISTER - cool Travis County program.
Give thanks and praise!!