June 25 (UPI) -- Jon Stewart believes the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic allowed the United States to gain "clarity" on racism.
The 57-year-old comedian and television personality appeared on Wednesday's episode of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, where he discussed George Floyd's death and the subsequent protests and conversations about racial injustice.
Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died May 25 in Minneapolis, Minn., while being restrained by a police officer who knelt on his neck.
On The Late Show, Stewart suggested the COVID-19 health crisis gave people the time and space to reflect on "the gaping racial wound we never seemed to do anything about."
"In some respects, I wonder if the pandemic, because we all went into kind of a stasis and so much of the distractions of your daily life were removed, that it allowed the country a moment of clarity," the former Daily Show host said.
"It's almost like in this moment of more quiet reflection, America suddenly stopped and smelled the racism," he added. "There was that feeling that we were in a moment's pause, and in that one breath, maybe it suddenly became clear to us."
Stewart said the "biggest obstacle" to change has "always been our inability to understand that it's not just about ending segregation. It's about dismantling the barriers." He said black people have spent years fighting for equality as white people build equity.
"The disparity then, between a lack of equality and a rising of equity, just exacerbated," Stewart said. "The disparity then, between a lack of equality and a rising of equity, just exacerbated."
Stewart examined how past legislation like the Homestead Act, New Deal and GI Bill excluded black people while helping white people gain more equity.
"I think equality will only come once the community can gain the equity that's been taken from them," he said. "That, to me, feels like the root."