A NORTH KOREAN defector has said the United States’ future is as “bleak” as her former country, taking aim at the views she experienced while attending a prestigious university and how America is seeing critical thinking skills being stripped away.
Yeonmi Park, 27, transferred to Columbia University from a South Korean university in 2016, where she said she saw many similarities to what she faced in North Korea.
A North Korean defector, Yeonmi Park, 27, has made comparisons between her former country and the United States[/caption]
Park said she experienced extreme levels of political correctness at Columbia University, which she reportedly started attending in 2016[/caption]
Speaking to Fox News, Park said: “I expected that I was paying this fortune, all this time and energy, to learn how to think. But they are forcing you to think the way they want you to think.
“I realized, wow, this is insane. I thought America was different but I saw so many similarities to what I saw in North Korea that I started worrying.”
Park said the similarities she experienced included collective guilt, anti-Western sentiment and political correctness.
During orientation, Park said, she experienced negativity from a university staff member when she said she liked classic literature such as Jane Austen.
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Park recalled: “I said ‘I love those books.’ I thought it was a good thing.
“Then she said, ‘Did you know those writers had a colonial mindset? They were racists and bigots and are subconsciously brainwashing you.’”
Speaking to New York Post, the 27-year-old also said she couldn’t believe she would be required to do “this much censoring of myself” at a U.S. university.
“I literally crossed the Gobi Desert to be free and I realized I’m not free, America’s not free,” she said.
Yeonmi Park fled North Korea at age 13 in 2007.
Park fled North Korea at age 13 in 2007, later writing a memoir of her experiences[/caption]
After she and her family travelled through China and South Korea, she headed to college in New York in 2016.
Park told the Post: “I thought North Koreans were the only people who hated Americans, but turns out there are a lot of people hating this country in this country.”
She added: “Voluntarily, these people are censoring each other, silencing each other, no force behind it.”
The 27-year-old also said that Americans are obsessed with oppression, even though there is not much that they have witnessed firsthand.
She said that she was often confused by issues surrounding gender and language, using how classes asked students to announce their preferred pronouns as an example.
Park said: “English is my third language. I learned it as an adult. I sometimes still say ‘he’ or ‘she’ by mistake and now they are going to ask me to call them ‘they’? How the heck do I incorporate that into my sentences?”
Eventually, Yeonmi said, she “learned how to just shut up” in order to maintain a good GPA and graduate.
Park published a memoir, “In Order to Live,” in 2015.
She also accused American higher education institutions of stripping people’s ability to think critically.
Park recalled: “In North Korea I literally believed that my Dear Leader [Kim Jong-un] was starving.
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“He’s the fattest guy – how can anyone believe that? And then somebody showed me a photo and said ‘Look at him, he’s the fattest guy. Other people are all thin.’ And I was like, ‘Oh my God, why did I not notice that he was fat?’ Because I never learned how to think critically.”
“That is what is happening in America,” she continued. “People see things but they’ve just completely lost the ability to think critically.”
Columbia University was contacted for comment.
Park said the U.S.’s future is as ‘bleak’ as her former country, because of the way it approaches the likes of critical thinking and hardship[/caption]