Assess the significance of Charles Perkins and the Freedom Rides in changing people’s attitudes of indigenous Australians.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One way in which the Freedom Ride was significant in changing people's attitudes towards indigenous Australians is that it raised attention to the issue of discrimination.  Perkins and his group were able to forcefully advocate that modern Australia cannot say it stands for freedom when it allows such blatant mistreatment and segregation to happen.  Being able to travel to different parts of the country and emphasize the national condition of discrimination towards Aboriginal people, the Freedom Ride was able to bring attention to something that had been shrouded in silence for so long.  

The Freedom Rides' demonstrative challenge to race- based bans became broadcast all over the world.  Public facilities such as swimming pools and movie theatres were being challenged and people began to take notice.  Captions such as  "Mr Charles Perkins, the part Aboriginal student leader, frolics with children in the swimming pool he helped desegregate," helped to integrate the issue within the public discourse.  The Freedom Rides were geared towards actively confronting a problem in Australian society and changing it.  As a result, Perkins and the Freedom Rides played a significant role in changing people's attitudes towards indigenous Australians and how they were treated.  The Freedom Rides and "the publicity it gained raised consciousness of racial discrimination in Australia and strengthened the campaigns to eradicate it which followed."