As American educational institutions continue to be called into question, a North Korean defector fears the United States’ future “is as bleak as North Korea” after she attended one of the country’s most prestigious universities.
Yeonmi Park has experienced plenty of struggle and hardship, but she does not call herself a victim.
One of several hundred North Korean defectors settled in the United States, Park, 27, transferred to Columbia University from a South Korean university in 2016 and was deeply disturbed by what she found.
“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,” Park said in an interview with Fox News. “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.”
Those similarities include anti-Western sentiment, collective guilt and suffocating political correctness.
Yeonmi saw red flags immediately upon arriving at the school.
During orientation, she was scolded by a university staff member for admitting she enjoyed classic literature such as Jane Austen.
“I said ‘I love those books.’ I thought it was a good thing,” recalled Park.
“Then she said, ‘Did you know those writers had a colonial mindset? They were racists and bigots and are subconsciously brainwashing you.’”
It only got worse from there as Yeonmi realized that every one of her classes at the Ivy League school was infected with what she saw as anti-American propaganda, reminiscent to the sort she had grown up with.
“’American Bastard’ was one word for North Koreans” Park was taught growing up.
“The math problems would say ‘there are four American bastards, you kill two of them, how many American bastards are left to kill?'”
She was also shocked and confused by issues surrounding gender and language, with every class asking students to announce their preferred pronouns.
“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?”
“It was chaos,” said Yeonmi. “It felt like the regression in civilization.”
“Even North Korea is not this nuts,” she admitted. “North Korea was pretty crazy, but not this crazy.”