“We’ve got the same objective, but we just got different ways of getting at it”.
People normally confuse confidence with arrogance. In Africa, a child dares do not question the elderly. It’s always assumed that the older person is always right and the younger one must always apologise to the elderly even if it’s the fault of the elderly. So, we were always cowed to believing that anything the elderly says must be taken hook, line and sinker without questioning it. Because the older person is right in all aspects.
This attitude has permeated our educational institutions as well, such that you can’t question your teacher on what he is teaching you. So, students who toe the line of the teacher or gives him “what he wants” in exams often gets higher score as compared to the student who gives a compelling answer which is not in his marking scheme. This student often gets a lower mark.
As Malcolm X once said, “We’ve got the same objective, but we just got different ways of getting at it”. This has led to the lack of critical thinking among a swathe of African youth. Thus, there’s only one thinking which is the teacher’s and that is what everyone needs to emulate. According to a Chinese proverb, there are many paths to the top of the mountain, but the view is always the same.
To this effect, not everyone who gets a lower score is dull but maybe he has a thought that is different from everyone else’s. A lot of African youth are not confident in airing their views on matters that bother leadership, governance and whatnots. If an African youth speaks his or her mind on the appalling practices that are cancerous in our society, he’s seen as arrogant and disrespectful. It’s not about using expletives at the older folks, but it’s about speaking the truth no matter how difficult it is. As the old adage goes, a person making a path does not see the crookedness of the path unless the person behind him. So, everyone, regardless of age, status at one point in time may need someone to tell them the bitter truth for the collective good.
I’d urge people not to see someone who is confident as arrogant or know-it-all person. That’s how we can check ourselves. Confidence is a feeling of self- assuredness that comes from an appreciation of one’s abilities and arrogance is characterized by having an exaggerated sense of one’s abilities.