Wokeness gone wrong: North Korean defector student slams US colleges
A woman who defected North Korea over a decade ago says she was excited about studying in the United States - only until she actually did that. Yeonmi Park, 27, attended Columbia University and was shocked by the anti-Western sentiment and the level of political correctness that she witnessed there. "Even North Korea is not this nuts," she now believes.
Park said in an interview with Fox News that in American schools, students are forced to think a certain way. "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," she said. "I realized, wow, this is insane."
Park and her family had fled North Korea in 2007, when she was 13 years old. That journey took them to China, South Korea, and finally the US. She went to the Columbia University in Manhattan in 2016 for her graduation. Park had written about her escape from North Korea and life there in a 2015 memoir called In Order to Live.
Park said that teachers at Columbia offered students "warnings" by sharing portions from the readings in advance so they could choose to leave the class during discussions. "Going to Columbia, the first thing I learned was 'safe space,'" she told the New York Post. Professors also asked students their preferred pronouns, which was hard for Park as English wasn't her first language.
Park also said she was rebuked for saying she liked the writings of English novelist Jane Austen. "I said 'I love those books.' I thought it was a good thing," Park told Fox News. In response, she was told, "Did you know those writers had a colonial mindset? They were racists and bigots and are subconsciously brainwashing you."
Park opined Americans are increasingly indulging in cancel culture and self-censorship. "Voluntarily, these people are censoring each other, silencing each other, no force behind it," she said. "Other times...there's a military coup d'etat, like a force comes in taking your rights away and silencing you. But this country is choosing to be silenced, choosing to give their rights away."
Park also highlighted that the situation in North Korea is different as people there do not have access to the internet or connectivity with the rest of the world, which is not the case with the US. "In some ways, they (in the US) are brainwashed. Even though there is evidence so clearly in front of their eyes they can't see it," she said.