What exactly does The Kite Runner say about issues of social class, and how does this relate to us in society today?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Amir sees that racism and ethnic prejudice can be found in both his native land of Afghanistan as well as in his adopted home in America. Before the Russians gained control, Baba was one of Kabul's wealthiest and most powerful men--a Pashtun who loved the modern extravagances that could be found in the West. He drove a Mustang and loved all things American. But Baba's reduced social status with the rise of USSR domination forced him to flee to America. There, he was near the bottom of the California social ladder--an immigrant who worked at a gas station for minimum wage--and he finds that America is not all that he had expected. Amir and Baba were most at home in the tight-knit Afghan community around Santa Clara where Baba still maintained his highly-prized reputation, and it is no surprise that Amir turns to a native Afghan when he looks for a bride. Amir is better able to deal with his new life in California, learning the language and getting an education before settling down and achieving his goal of becoming a writer. For Amir, the American Dream is a reality, yet he proudly maintains ties to his homeland through the Afghans living in California.

But while Amir adjusted to his new life in California, Afghanistan continued to change as different ruling parties gained control. For the lowly Hazara, things actually improved a bit under Russian control, but they soon became targeted for ethnic cleansing once the Taliban took over. The Hazaras still bring out different responses from Afghans: General Taheri is insulted that Amir and Soraya would consider making Sohrab a part of the family. Assef uses the Hazaras for sodomy and target practice. Yet, Farid is impressed enough by Amir's loyalty to his lost nephew to join him on his dangerous journey.

While it is not hard to draw parallels between the racial prejudice found against the Hazaras in Afghanistan and that against African Americans in America, the terrorist bombings in New York City on 9/11 created a negative backlash for Muslims and other immigrants in America. Amir and his Afghan friends now faced a new threat--the knee-jerk reactions by many Americans who feared that behind every thobe and burqa lurked a terrorist awaiting the chance to bring death and destruction to this country.

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The Kite Runner

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