Trevor Noah believes America suffers from a level of institutionalized racial segregation.
The 31-year-old took time away from preparing to debut his version of The Daily Show this week to have a conversation with Rolling Stone about what the political satire show will look like without longtime host Jon Stewart.
During the interview, the South African-born comedian said the show’s new era will launch Sept. 28 with more diverse writers and correspondents, and will be more focused on social media, while also remaining true to fan expectations of the Comedy Central institution.
When asked by Rolling Stone if acts of “racism” and “racist police violence” help feed a narrative that America is a white-supremacist nation, Noah said America still has a long way to go.
“I wouldn’t say America is a white-supremacist country, but I believe America suffers from a level of institutionalized racial segregation,” said the Johannesburg native. “And the effect of that is very similar to South Africa: It’s difficult to remedy that instantly.
“If you look at the legacy of slavery, if you look at the legacy of oppression…I mean even if you just look at women’s rights, take a step away from racial issues: Society has a long way to go in terms of getting women equal pay, equal recognition in the workplace, and so on,” said Noah.
The comedian said women have been “free” for many years, but people fail to realize that freedom is the “first step” of many toward obtaining equality.
“A lot of people who aren’t particularly progressive think that freedom is the end, but you don’t realize that freedom is really the beginning of the conversation. Freedom and equality are two totally different conversations,” he said.
“If you look at jokes that were acceptable 10, 20 years ago, like the way comics referred to certain groups — minorities, people of certain sexual orientations — you go, ‘Wow, I can’t believe that was a normal thing to say,’” said Noah.
He added: “At certain points we say, Hey that’s actually not acceptable. We shouldn’t have been doing that or saying that!”
Read Trevor Noah’s full Rolling Stone interview here.