2022 Indie Shortlisted and ABIA Longlisted- Who Gets to Be Smart: Privilege, Power and Knowledge by Bri Lee – Our Review


Our Review…

Another illuminating book by the wonderful Bri Lee, author of Award-Winning Eggshell Skull. Who Get’s To Be Smart is an eye opening conversation about privilege, power, knowledge and the elitism that underpins our institutions even today.

While on a visit to Oxford University where a close friend had been accepted into the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship Program, Lee begins to question the foundations that these institutions are built upon. In bringing her findings to us, she is careful to look through several lenses – gender, race, class and ability – as she paints a transparent picture about the systemic inequality within our education systems. The closer she looks, the more she realises that colonialism, sexism and racism are alive and thriving today.

Bri Lee reflects on her own academic experience, pulling apart educational structures to better understand how the privilege of attending a prestigious private college in Sydney helped her get to where she is today – as a celebrated author. She dives into the data and reveals that despite claiming the opposite, the system is still designed to help the rich get richer and the already privileged get smarter.

She questions the idea of “intelligence”, asking why we value “smart” so highly, and why qualities such as kindness are less likely to be celebrated and encouraged.

This book will bring any unconscious bias to the surface and inspire you to “unlearn” some of the things you take for granted. An extremely important read for all.

Review by Belinda @ Great Escape Books