Don Lemon - who lives in a $4.3 million home in Sag Harbor where 80 percent of residents are white - has said black and white Americans are 'living in two different realities.'
The CNN host told the Washington Post there had been a 'false reality' that racism no longer existed in the US after the nation elected its first black President Barack Obama.
The subsequent election of Donald Trump then became a 'wake-up call to white people', he said, while black people knew racism 'was lurking beneath the surface' the whole time.
'We're living in two different realities as black and white people,' he said.
The 55-year-old also described the video of George Floyd's murder as an 'equalizer' and said its timing was especially impactful because 'we didn't know what was going to happen the next day, or the next minute, or if we were going to have a job' due to the pandemic.
Don Lemon (pictured on CNN) - who lives in a $4.3 million home in Sag Harbor where 80 percent of residents are white - has said black and white Americans are 'living in two different realities'
Lemon, who is black, earns a $4 million annual salary as a staple on CNN, where he hosts 'Don Lemon Tonight.'
He lives in a 2,750-square-foot four-bedroom cottage in the predominantly white area of Sag Harbor, New York state, with his fiancé Tim Malone.
Sag Harbor has seven times more white residents than any other race or ethnicity, according to Data USA.
In 2018, 80 percent of the population were white, while just 3 percent were black or African-American.
Lemon, originally from Louisiana, bought his home in the area for $3.1 million back in 2016 before completely renovating it with the help of his interior designer neighbors.
It is now worth $4,353,741, according to a Zillow estimate.
He also owned a three-bedroom condo in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan, where 54 percent of residents are black, according to Census data.
Lemon, who is black, lives in a $4.3 million four-bedroom cottage in Sag Harbor, New York state where 80% of the population are white and just 3% black with his fiance Tim Malone (pictured together in front of their home)
Lemon pictured on a boat in an Instagram post. He earns a $4 million annual salary as a staple on CNN
However, Lemon offloaded this property and moved out of the more racially diverse area in February, after it sold for $1.5 million.
Lemon spoke to the Post about racism in America, following the release of his book 'This Is the Fire: What I Say to My Friends About Racism' in March.
'There's also this false reality that we're living in a post-racial world after the election of Barack Obama,' Lemon said.
'That was all bulls**. It was a wake-up call to white people who thought we were living in a nonracist world.'
He added: 'We're living in two different realities as black and white people.
Lemon spoke to the Post about racism in America, following the release of his book 'This Is the Fire: What I Say to My Friends About Racism' in March
'We knew, as black people, what was lurking beneath the surface. I still believe that [Trump] was the necessary wake-up for America to realize just how racist it is.'
The 55-year-old described the video of George Floyd's murder as a 'singular moment' and 'an equalizer in the way that it made us all vulnerable and empathetic at the same time.'
'A collective vulnerability and empathy. We all became human, and we saw the humanity - finally - in this black man who was getting killed by a police officer,' he said.
The timing of the black man's death at the hands of law enforcement was more impactful as it came during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, he said.
'We were also doing it during a time when we may have been sick ourselves, or our next neighbor was sick, our moms, or any loved one,' he said.
The CNN host said he and others didn't know if they would get sick or lose their jobs, with many fearing at the onset of the pandemic that the economy could collapse.
'We didn't know what was going to happen the next day, or the next minute, or if we were going to have a job,' he said.
'Some people couldn't pay their bills, some people were hungry.'
Lemon spoke of his horror watching Floyd being murdered in the footage that set off a movement calling for an end to racism activists say pervades all aspects of American society, and police brutality against black men and women.
Lemon in front of his Sag Harbor pad. He also owned a three-bedroom condo in the predominantly black neighborhood of Harlem but sold it for $1.5 million in February
'It was 9 minutes and 29 seconds of a police officer really believing that he was God and had the absolute right to snuff the life from someone. And I think I realized that it was different for a few reasons,' he said.
'One, we got to see it. Two, for how long it was. Three, he was begging for his life and for his mother.
'Four, just the nonchalance, the apathy from the police officer was just unbelievable. "I'm going to do this, and f--- you." Taking his Taser out and daring the citizens who wanted to help, like, "I dare you. This can be you."'
Lemon said the footage proved what black people had been saying for so long: that police are killing them.
'The George Floyd video, because it was a police officer, and black people had been saying for so long, "We're being beaten up and killed by police officers, and no one is paying attention. This must stop,"' he said.
Floyd (pictured) died Memorial Day 2020 during an arrest over a counterfeit bill
White cop Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd's neck for more than nine minutes (above) until he died. The murder was captured on video sparking a racial justice movement
Lemon said the video of the death of Ahmaud Arbery - the 25-year-old unarmed black jogger gunned down in a neighborhood in Georgia by three white men - was 'just as disturbing'.
He lamented that the footage of Arbery and Floyd will likely not be the last.
'I don't think that George Floyd will be the last video that we see like that, unfortunately, but I do think that it is the most impactful one that we'll see in a very long time,' he said.
Lemon acknowledged that conversations about racism are 'tiring' but that it is important to have those discussions with friends.
'Whether we like, as black people, being the teachers or helping to guide White people through racism - it's uncomfortable sometimes, it's tiring - unfortunately to some degree you have to do it, because otherwise they may take the wrong actions, and we want people to do it the right way,' he said.
'And the right way is by understanding and seeing our humanity.'