The Kite Runner Questions and Answers
by Khaled Hosseini

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What are some examples of racism towards the Hazaras in The Kite Runner?

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Some of the common insults used to harass Hazaras in Hosseini's The Kite Runner include "flat-nosed," "donkeys," and "Babalu." Hazaras are a minority ethnic group in Afghanistan and are treated as inferior by many members of the majority group, the Pashtuns. Some of the prejudice is based on ethnicity and some is based on the associated religion; most Hazaras are Shi'a Muslims, while most Pashtuns are Sunni. In the novel, Hassan and his father Ali are Hazara, and Amir and his father Baba are Pashtun. However, Baba and Ali grew up like brothers, as did Amir and Hassan; therefore, their relationships are an oddity in their world. In fact, Amir is bullied along with Hassan, simply for being seen in public with a Hazara. Despite the emotional connection between these Hazara and Pashtun characters, the Hazaras are an uneducated servant class and the Pashtuns in the novel are upper class, so that creates a very complex relationship between Amir and Hassan.

In Chapter Two, Amir begins to detail...

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The Hazaras are a race of people who descended from the Mongolian race.  In the book "The Kite Runner" Hassan is a Hazara.  On page 9 it mentions in a book that Amir is reading that "the Pashtuns had persecuted and oppressed the Hazaras."

Ali, who is a Hazara, is mocked by the neighborhood people on page 10.

When the boys, Hassan and Amir, run into Assef, he taunts Hassan by calling him flat nose.  He makes reference to Hitler being a great man and that had he completed what he had intended the world would be a better place.  He is referring to the extinction of the Hazaras.  This is foreshadowing as later on it will be Assef who will kill the Hazaras to help rid his country of them.

 

Assef asks Amir "How can you play with him?  How can you touch him?"(41)

Hassan as an adult and his wife were interrogated by investigators.  They had done nothing but were caring for Baba's home while Baba was in America.  They shot him in the back of the head.  When his wife came out screaming they killed her as well.  Then they took the son and used him as a sex toy.  They had no rights as Hazaras. (Page 219)