Jason Osamede Okundaye, 20, said he had received ‘death threats, rape threats and racist insults’ after his comments were covered in the media.
He had tweeted following riots in Dalston: ‘ALL white people are racist. White middle class, white working class, white men, white women, white gays, white children they can ALL geddit.’
But in a comment piece for the Guardian, he said the tweet was stripped of its context and that he was not referring to individual white people but to mean that racism persisted in all social groups.
The tweet was in response to a discussion about ‘how racism is often portrayed as the sole preserve of the working class’, he said.
‘I simply meant to observe that racial prejudice, where it exists, transcends gender, class, sexuality and age,’ he told the paper.
Mr Okundaye, who is president of the Black and Minority Ethnic society at the University, said he had faced a ‘torrent of abuse and death threats’.
The backlash towards him illustrated his point about the need to speak up for social justice, he claimed.
He said he had been forced to discuss his sexuality in the national press after being accused of being anti-LGBT.
‘I was attacked as homophobic because of my observation that racism does exist in gay spaces,’ he wrote.
‘To defend myself against such accusations, I am having to come out in the national media as a gay man in full knowledge this had been information I had not yet chosen to disclose to relatives.’
He said police had dropped an investigation because ‘in no sense was [the tweet] an incitement to racial hatred’.