by WorldTribune Staff, June 15, 2021
It’s a regime that forces its subjects “to think the way they want you to think.”
That statement was made by a woman who escaped a surreal life of mind control, poverty and brutality in North Korea.
But the defector, Yeonmi Park, was not talking about life under the Kim Jong-Un regime. She was talking about life on the campus of Columbia University.
The Ivy League university’s intense focus on gender issues, such as preferred pronouns, in nearly every class left her in a state of confusion, Park said in an interview on Fox News.
“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?” she said. “It was chaos. It felt like the regression in civilization.”
“Even North Korea is not this nuts,” Park added. “North Korea was pretty crazy, but not this crazy.”
For her education at the pricey Ivy League institution, 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, who in her 2015 memoir In Order to Live provides an account of her escape from North Korea, also warned that U.S. education institutions are hindering students’ abilities to think for themselves.
“In North Korea I literally believed that my Dear Leader [Kim Jong-Un] was starving,” Park recounted. “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 added. “People see things but they’ve just completely lost the ability to think critically.”
Park told the New York Post that her professors at Columbia gave students “trigger warnings,” sharing the wording from readings in advance so people could opt out of reading or even sitting in class during discussions.
“Going to Columbia, the first thing I learned was ‘safe space,’ ” she said.
“Every problem, they explained us, is because of white men.” Some of the discussions of white privilege reminded her of the caste system in North Korea, where people were categorized based on their ancestors, she said.
In North Korea, Park said students were constantly informed about the “American Bastard.”
“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 told The Post.