By: V4 Agency
“I thought America was different, but I saw so many similarities to what I saw in North Korea that I started worrying,” said journalist Yeonmi Park speaking about her experiences attending Columbia University. Park defected from North Korea as a child with her mother.
“America’s future is as bleak as North Korea’s,” said a South Korean refugee after attending Columbia University.
“Even North Korea is not this nuts. North Korea was pretty crazy, but not this crazy,” said Yeonmi Park, a North Korean refugee and journalist, speaking about what she experienced at Columbia University.
27-year-old Park transferred to Columbia University from a South Korean university in 2016 and was deeply disturbed by what she experienced.
Her disappointment in the university not teaching students to learn how to think critically led her to say, “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.
One such similarity Park noticed was an anti-Western sentiment, but she also noted that other red flags, such as collective guilt and extreme political correctness, were also pervasive at the university.
In one instance, Park said she was scolded by a staff member for saying she enjoyed classic literature such as Jane Austen. The professor lectured her by asking if she was aware that “those writers had a colonial mindset. They were racists and bigots and are subconsciously brainwashing you.”
Park noted that such incidents were not isolated, as every class she took at the school contained the kind of anti-American propaganda she had grown up with as a young student in North Korea.
She was also shocked and confused by issues surrounding gender and language; in every class students had to state their preferred pronouns. This furthered her confusion as a non-native English speaker amounting to her saying he or she instead of they by mistake.
“It felt like the regression in civilization,” she said.
After getting into a number of arguments with professors and students, the North Korean refugee eventually learned how to keep quite in order to maintain her good GPA and grant.
She noted that “my mother and I fled North Korea when I was 13. We tried to cross the Yalu river, but fell into the hands of human traffickers who sold us into slavery. American kids keep saying how they’re oppressed and how much injustice they’ve experienced. I literally crossed through the middle of the Gobi Desert to be free.”
Park says the American higher education institutions are stripping people’s ability to think critically just as the system does in North Korea. As an example, she mentioned that in school they were taught to believe that “my Dear Leader [Kim Jong-un] was starving,” and because they “never learnt how to think critically,” they didn’t realise that he was in fact the fattest man.
“North Koreans, we don’t have Internet, we don’t have access to any of these great thinkers, we don’t know anything. But here, while having everything, people choose to be brainwashed.”