Even the Real Housewives Are Done With Your Voting Excuses

Stars from “Real Housewives” and “Married to Medicine” talk about their efforts to get out the vote, being taken seriously politically, and the “Race in America” Bravo special.

Real Housewives of Potomac star Gizelle Bryant remembered her father telling the story of when he went to register to vote for the first time in 1956, but it’s when he recounted it again recently, against the backdrop of the current election, that she was really struck by how horrific the details are.

He wore a suit and tie, on the advice of his own father who didn’t want the registrar to have an excuse to turn him away because his shoes were dirty or jeans were inappropriate. He arrived early, so that there was plenty of time to talk through a problem in case one arose. And it did.

When he arrived, the registrar handed him a copy of the Preamble to the Constitution and told him that if he couldn’t answer her specific questions about it, he wouldn’t be allowed to register.

Never mind that, then or now, there are few people who would be able to stand up to a line of questioning about the Preamble of the Constitution. It was the mechanism that the registrar was using that day to ensure that a Black man wasn’t able to register, one in an arsenal—legislative or through sheer intimidation—used to stop an entire race of Americans from exercising the right to vote.

“You know, more than 60 years later and we’re still here,” Bryant says, talking to The Daily Beast the week before the 2020 election. “It’s not as tremendously blatant as it was back then when my father was registering. But it’s the same game. It’s just played a different way.”