Posted Thursday, February 15, 2018 by RODNEY HOfirstname.lastname@example.org on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog
TLC's new "Seeking Sister Wife" reality show features two white Utah families, no surprise there.
But then there's Ashley and Dimitri Snowden, who live in metro Atlanta. They're black and they're not from the West. They just believe in the polygamist lifestyle.
During this new season, which airs its fifth out of seven episodes this Sunday, they search for a second wife.
They meet Joslyn, an attractive 22-year-old woman who seems eager to join their family. After a date that aired this past Sunday, Dimitri slept with Joslyn without telling Ashley first. When he does inform her, Ashley literally chokes on her drink. And get this: Ashley is pregnant with their third child.
When the production company found the Snowdens, they had long discussions about how this might impact their three children (ages 5, 3 and now two months) and their livelihoods. They decided to take the chance and educate the public. Dimitri said so far, the show has not impacted his business as a design consultant, which he describes as an "ontological architect" and "change agent."
Ashley said they met a few years ago when she was teaching and he was helping with their technology needs. He told her about his lifestyle choice and she was open to it. "I have studied anthropology," she said. "I have been exposed to the polygamist lifestyle on my journey."
Why she finds it a positive move: "I like the community aspect, the sisterhood, the legacy, the strong family structure."
"For me," Dimitri said, "it's another catalyst to strengthen culture and tradition. When you have that vehicle and a great companion like Ashley, it can become an epic output for subsequent generations."
They have tried to add to their family in the past but haven't had any luck with the right fit.
There is growing acceptance of polygamy although it remains illegal in all 50 states. About 17 percent of Americans find it "morally acceptable," according to Gallup polling last year. That's up from 14 percent in 2016 and highest since Gallup began asking the question in 2003, when only 7 percent of Americans were okay with it.
Coincidentally or not, increases in acceptance began after the debut of reality shows such as "Sister Wives," which began airing on TLC in 2010, and humanize polygamists.
The Internet has made it much easier to find potentially like-minded people via Facebook groups and dating sites, Ashley said.
Dimitri said the added challenge being on this TV show is finding someone willing to be both in a polygamist relationship with them and be on TV. There are folks, he said, who would prefer to keep it private and others who might be interested only to be on TV.
He said Joslyn has "an affinity to sisterhood. And she is flexible. We live a very dynamic life. We may have opportunities in Singapore or Ecuador and able to go. We are not attached to things and places."
Ultimately, Dimitri said, "our style is very different from many people. That's the lovely thing about polygamy. There are so many different versions of it."
"Seeking Sister Wife," 10 p.m. Sundays, TLC