SIR - I am a direct descendant of the Vikings who came to pillage and eventually settle in North Kent in the 9th and 10th centuries.

I have their gene which gives me deformed middle fingers and a surname from the Roman name for Sweden - Holmia. And despite what Alan Bates would apparently like us to believe (T&A letters, January 26) I have yet to meet anyone who has expressed feelings either way about how my ancestors treated the native population.

This is not however true of the legacy of slavery which still resonates today, although it is only in the last few years that people have begun to openly express their feelings of guilt about the way the descendants of slaves have been and still are treated in America. If this shows in ways which Mr Bates finds objectionable - too bad.

He must know that segregation was not finally outlawed until 1964 and is still a major cause for resentment across the country. This probably explains why one of Joe Biden’s first acts as president was to issue an executive order on racial equity in the hope that injustices suffered for over 400 years might finally be put to rest.

Brian Holmans, Langley Road, Bingley