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America’s ‘equity’ obsession can destroy country, North Korean defector tells college students

An outspoken North Korean defector turned activist told a crowd of University of Alabama students recently that they must avoid pursuing a society of equal outcomes or risk losing what makes America great.

“I’m standing here to remind America how good this country is and why this country is worth fighting for,” said Yeonmi Park, author of “While Time Remains: A North Korean Defector’s Search for Freedom in America.”

Park discussed her experiences growing up in North Korea, her escape to freedom, and the fear she has while watching the United States embrace the same equity tenets that ruined North Korea.

“North Korea began with just one idea that’s called equity: equality of outcomes,” Park said during her one-hour speech and Q&A on campus last week.

In North Korea’s pursuit of these goals, Park said her grandparents “gave up private property. They gave up freedom of speech. They gave up freedom of religion and movement, all of their rights.”

The event, “Fight for Equality, not Equity,” was sponsored by the Young America’s Foundation, a nationwide organization promoting conservatism on schools.

Park’s talk came as anti-DEI legislation passed the Alabama senate, which led to protests across campus and inflamed tension among the student body regarding diversity, equity and inclusion topics.

“This is the exact same thing that I see in America,” Park said, “how there’s a certain ideology in America trying to divide American people based on their skin color.”

Christian Calvert, president of the University of Alabama YAF chapter, told The College Fix that “Yeonmi sees the same ideas that led to what we see in North Korea rearing their head here, particularly in places of higher learning, and she fears for her son that one day the United States will be in a similar situation, and she will lose another home.”

Park noted how the North Korean government promised free education, housing, and health care, adding: “How many people in America are currently fighting for these things?”

Park described her harrowing escape from North Korea and her experiences being sold as a sex slave in China. Eventually, Christian missionaries helped Park and her mother reach freedom in South Korea, she said.

Describing the choices she had in South Korea, she said it was difficult to adjust because, for the first time, she had to answer: “What do you wanna do with your life?”

Park eventually moved to the United States and, while writing her first book, “In Order to Live,” attended Columbia University. There her professors taught her the same things she was taught in North Korea, that “all the wrong, all the evil [that] exists in the world right now is because of white men and is because of American capitalism,” she said.

“The only solution for us to solve all these problems is carrying out the Constitution and rebuilding this country in the name of equity,” Park told the Alabama college students.

Park cited the differences between the success of South Korea and the utter destitution of the North. The differences, she said, are that one chose equity, and the other chose capitalism and freedom.

“There’s no laws that [says] America cannot become like North Korea, which, when you see New York City right now, it proves it can become like that … I do want you to ask fight for America when you can,” she said.

Asked during the Q&A to define freedom. Park said it’s “responsibility, and freedom requires virtue and discipline.”

Asked how to fight the radical left, Park said she believes the first step is “telling the truth.”

MORE: North Korean defector says her Ivy League school is like a totalitarian regime

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About the Author
College Fix contributor Garrett Marchand is a pre-law student at the University of Alabama majoring in political science and economics with a minor in the Blount Scholars Program. Garrett is a member of Young Americans for Freedom. He is a contributor for Alabama's student paper, The Crimson White.