Over recent years some Portuguese politicians and historians have been very concerned to argue, with undoubted sincerity, as Armando Cortesão has argued, that:
‘The Portuguese never had any preconceived notions of race or colour. They always dealt and still do deal with Christian brotherhood towards all peoples, whether they are white, black, khaki or yellow’. and ‘they have always treated indigenes with humanity and, when civilized, as equals amongst equals,’
The expression of this viewpoint has taken a variety of forms, often expressed quite categorically and without any qualification whatsoever, and has been supported by official policy and, academically in particular, by the distinguished Brazilian socio-historian Gilberto Freyre. More recently it has been attacked by Professor Charles Boxer in his Race Relations in the Portuguese Colonial Empire, 1415–1825 (Clarendon, 1963), where the author has presented a substantial body of entirely reliable historical evidence of actual discrimination against indigenes and mestiços within the Portuguese Empire and Provinces, and has argued that whilst this viewpoint is sincerely held it is substantially incorrect in its extreme and bald form.