From my experiences, trials and travels; there is a set of Americans that dislike anyone who is better than them that started out at the same place. Because if your better at sports than me, smarter than me or richer than me; you worked harder and I see myself as lazy.
From my experience managing adults in manufacturing environments to now teenagers as a teacher, my experience is that there are very few individuals who will confess to being lazy. They will instead insist others got ahead through luck, good fortune, chicanery or something else over which they themselves have absolutely no control.
The victim mindset starts young. "I could have made the team but the coach doesn't like me." " I am failing math because Miss XYZ doesn't explain things well" (ignoring the fact that everyone else in the class is making A's or B's. "I didn't go to college because my family wasn't wealthy" etc.
I have said this before but the biggest takeaway I have from being in education is that I no longer pat myself on the back for the things I have accomplished. I realized now that I had the good fortune of having good parents who would not accept excuses from me. Granted, I did what I could with the opportunities afforded me but I was dealt a good hand and I don't mean economically. My father was an electrician who learned his trade in the Navy and Mom was a stay at home mom.
I have seen too many kids start life without that stable foundation and the few who can overcome this obstacle are extremely rare indeed. BTW, bad parenting is found across the economic spectrum. It is not limited to the poor in our society. My experiences at a very expensive private school has taught me that.
"It's okay to be smart??????". It's sad (to me) that we live in a day and age where this message has to be preached to our young people.