“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,” said Park 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.”
Some of the similarities include anti-Western ideas, collective guilt, and political correctness.
Upon her arrival at Columbia, Park became immediately worried at the rhetoric being spewed.
At orientation, Park was harassed by a university staff member because she stated she enjoyed classic literature like Jane Austen.
“I said ‘I love those books,’” said Park. “I thought it was a good thing.”
“Then she said, ‘Did you know those writers had a colonial mindset?” continued Park. They were racists and bigots and are subconsciously brainwashing you.’”
Park stated that every one of her classes at the stuffy Ivy League school was filled with what she perceived as anti-American propaganda, similar to what she experienced in North Korea.
She was also confused by the views on gender and language, with every class asking students what their perferred pronouns are.
“English is my third language,” said Park. “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?”
Park said that after she got into several arguments with professors and students, she “learned how to just shut up” in order to maintain a good GPA and graduate.
Park took offense to the idea of how some of the students claimed to be opressed.
“These kids keep saying how they’re oppressed, how much injustice they’ve experienced,” said Park. “They don’t know how hard it is to be free.”
“Because I have seen oppression, I know what it looks like,” said Yeonmi, adding that by the age of 13, she had seen people drop dead of starvation.
“I literally crossed through the middle of the Gobi Desert to be free,” continued Park. “But what I did was nothing, so many people fought harder than me and didn’t make it.”
Park accused American higher education of brainwashing students, stripping their ability to think critically.
“In North Korea, I literally believed that my Dear Leader [Kim Jong-un] was starving,” said Park. “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,” continued Park.”People see things but they’ve just completely lost the ability to think critically.”
“North Koreans, we don’t have Internet, we don’t have access to any of these great thinkers, we don’t know anything,” said Park. “But here, while having everything, people choose to be brainwashed. And they deny it.”
Park stated that she was disappointed with Americans after coming to the country with high hopes.
“You guys have lost common sense to degree that I as a North Korean cannot even comprehend,” said Park. “Where are we going from here? There’s no rule of law, no morality, nothing is good or bad anymore, it’s complete chaos. I guess that’s what they want, to destroy every single thing and rebuild into a Communist paradise.”
Park and her mother escaped North Korea in 2007, when she was 13. After reaching China, Park and her mother were sold into slavery. With the help of Christian missionaries, Park and her mother fled to Mongolia, walking across the Gobi Desert to find refuge in South Korea.
In 2015, Park published a memoir, titled “In Order to Live,” where she described her struggle to live in North Korea and her journey to freedom.