Reading about the recent harassment of Jewish students on London campuses is a sad and harsh reminder that all of the gains we make as a society can be reversed. Without vigilance we risk backsliding.
For modern campuses to become a setting for intimidation is to get their purpose exactly wrong; we come to these campuses to have our views challenged, not protected. My time on campus certainly challenged a lot of the beliefs I acquired growing up in a poor and struggling community; going to school rounded out my worldview.
I grew up steeped in the stories of my grandfather and the Windrush Generation that brought him to Britain. He was a hero for fighting for King and country during the war, but as a citizen in his new land he was confronted with signs that said "no dogs, no blacks, no Irish". My family faced its blackness most days growing up.
By the time I was a young man in the West London of the 1980s and 90s there was still more than enough racism and harassment to go around. From being called a "n*gger" to being stopped by police because I "fit the description", I had to cope with abuse if I was going to get on with my day. I was even called a "token ghetto boy" by a Labour MP after I got involved in politics.