The former Daily Show host Jon Stewart sat down with The New York Times Magazine, and shared his perspective on the protests that have emerged calling for accountability in George Floyd‘s death at the hands of police.

Stewart said: “Look, every advancement toward equality has come with the spilling of blood. Then, when that’s over, a defensiveness from the group that had been doing the oppressing.”

He continued: “There’s always this begrudging sense that black people are being granted something, when it’s white people’s lack of being able to live up to the defining words of the birth of the country that is the problem. There’s a lack of recognition of the difference in our system. Chris Rock used to do a great bit: ‘No white person wants to change places with a black person. They don’t even want to exchange places with me, and I’m rich.’ It’s true. There’s not a white person out there who would want to be treated like even a successful black person in this country. And if we don’t address the why of that treatment, the how is just window dressing.”

He continued: “You know, we’re in a bizarre time of quarantine. White people lasted six weeks and then stormed a state building with rifles, shouting: ‘Give me liberty! This is causing economic distress! I’m not going to wear a mask, because that’s tyranny!’ That’s six weeks versus 400 years of quarantining a race of people. The policing is an issue, but it’s the least of it. We use the police as surrogates to quarantine these racial and economic inequalities so that we don’t have to deal with them.”

He also discussed how directing anger at just the police is wrong.

“We continue to make this about the police — the how of it. How can they police? Is it about sensitivity and de-escalation training and community policing? All that can make for a less-egregious relationship between the police and people of color. But the how isn’t as important as the why, which we never address,” Stewart said. “The police are a reflection of a society. They’re not a rogue alien organization that came down to torment the black community. They’re enforcing segregation. Segregation is legally over, but it never ended. The police are, in some respects, a border patrol, and they patrol the border between the two Americas. We have that so that the rest of us don’t have to deal with it. Then that situation erupts, and we express our shock and indignation. But if we don’t address the anguish of a people, the pain of being a people who built this country through forced labor — people say, ‘’m tired of everything being about race.’ Well, imagine how expletive exhausting it is to live that.”

Since leaving The Daily Show in Trevor Noah’s hands in 2015, Stewart has been largely quiet, though he does appear on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on occasion. Now, he is re-emerging to promote Irresistible, a political satire written by and starring him.