Portrait of a young confident woman

Source: JGalione / Getty

Blackipedia is a new weekly CASSIUS feature that takes a fun approach to exploring Black history, slang, and culture. For the month of March, we’ll be focusing on topics related to (Black) women. Get ready to learn something—and tell a friend!  

multiple jeopardy

[muhl-tuh-puh l jep-er-dee]


  • Remember last week’s installment of Blackipedia, in which we mentioned how folks frequently reference “intersectionality” in feminist conversation, but unknowingly use the term incorrectly? The idea some may be confusing it for is “multiple jeopardy,” a concept coined by sociologist Deborah K. King, which points to the inability to identify a single determinant as being most important in explaining oppression.
  • “The modifier ‘multiple’ refers not only to several, simultaneous oppressions but to the multiplicative relationships among them as well,” King explained in a 1988 article titled Multiple Jeopardy, Multiple Consciousness: The Context of Black Feminist Ideology. “In other words, the equivalent formulation is racism multiplied by sexism multiplied by classism…. The importance of any one factor in explaining Black women’s circumstances thus varies depending on the particular aspect of our lives under consideration and the reference groups to whom we are compared.”
  • The idea of multiple jeopardy also argues that those with multiple minority statuses experience a “multiple consciousness,” which is defined as “an awareness of multiple systems of inequality working with and through one another.” It is essentially a theory of intersectionality, though it is not the definition of intersectionality itself.

To Learn More:

Deborah K. King (Dartmouth College)

Multiple Jeopardy, Multiple Consciousness: The Context of Black Feminist Ideology (Chicago Journals)

SOURCE: Black Feminisms, Wiley Online Library