The Hate U Give

Khalil Harris Character Analysis

Starr’s childhood best friend, Khalil is a teenager from Garden Heights who is shot and killed by One-Fifteen, a white police officer, during a traffic stop. Dismissed by many in the media as a “thug,” “gangbanger,” and “drug dealer,” Khalil’s death becomes a catalyst for protests against racial injustice throughout the community. He and Starr were extremely close as children, sharing their first kiss and formative years together in Garden Heights, and Starr feels extremely guilty for losing touch with him before his death. Khalil often has to take care of his mother, Brenda, who is addicted to drugs, and grandmother, Mrs. Rosalie, who is going through chemotherapy and lost her job because of it. Though Khalil’s motivations for selling drugs remain unclear for much of the novel, DeVante eventually reveals that he refused to join the King Lords gang and only sold drugs to repay Brenda’s debt after she stole money from King, the biggest drug dealer in the neighborhood.

Khalil Harris Quotes in The Hate U Give

The The Hate U Give quotes below are all either spoken by Khalil Harris or refer to Khalil Harris. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Racism and Police Brutality  Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Harper Collins edition of The Hate U Give published in 2017.
Chapter 1 Quotes

Listen! The Hate U-the letter U-Give Little Infants Fucks Everybody. T-H-U-G L-I-F-E. Meaning what society give us as youth, it bites them in the ass when we wild out. Get it?

Related Characters: Khalil Harris (speaker), Starr Carter
Page Number: 17
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 4 Quotes

But I swear I wanna cuss Khalil out. How he could sell the very stuff that took his momma from him? Did he realize that he was taking somebody else's momma from them? Did he realize that if he does become a hashtag, some people will only see him as a drug dealer?

He was so much more than that.

Related Characters: Starr Carter (speaker), Khalil Harris, Brenda Harris
Page Number: 64
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 7 Quotes

The drug dealer. That's how they see him. It doesn't matter that he's suspected of doing it. “Drug dealer” is louder than “suspected” ever will be.

If it's revealed that I was in the car, what will that make me? The thug ghetto girl with the drug dealer? What will my teachers think about me? My friends? The whole fucking world, possibly?

Related Characters: Starr Carter (speaker), Khalil Harris, Hailey Grant, Maya Yang
Page Number: 113
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 10 Quotes

“Drugs come from somewhere, and they're destroying our community," he says. “You got folks like Brenda, who think they need them to survive, and then you got the Khalils who think they need to sell them to survive. The Brendas can't get jobs unless they're clean, and they can't pay for rehab unless they got jobs. When the Khalils get arrested for selling drugs, they either spend most of their life in prison, another billion-dollar industry, or they have a hard time getting a real job and probably start selling drugs again. That’s the hate they’re giving us, baby, a system designed against us. That’s ‘Thug Life.’”

Related Characters: Maverick Carter (speaker), Starr Carter , Khalil Harris, Brenda Harris
Page Number: 170
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 12 Quotes

[Tupac] explains Thug Life like Khalil said he did. The Hate U Give Little Infants Fucks Everybody. ‘Pac spells out “Fucks” because that kid is looking dead in his face. When Khalil told me what it meant I kinda understood it. I really understand it now.

Related Characters: Starr Carter (speaker), Khalil Harris
Page Number: 205
Explanation and Analysis:
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“That's the so-called gun,” Ms. Ofrah explains. “Officer Cruise claims he saw it in the car door, and he assumed Khalil was reaching for it. The handle was thick enough, black enough, for him to assume it was a gun.”

“And Khalil was black enough,” Daddy adds.

A hairbrush. Khalil died over a fucking hairbrush.

Related Characters: Starr Carter (speaker), Maverick Carter (speaker), April Ofrah (speaker), Khalil Harris, One-Fifteen / Officer Brian Cruise
Related Symbols: Khalil’s Hairbrush
Page Number: 217
Explanation and Analysis:
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“I've tried to forget it, but I remember everything. The shots, the look on Natasha's face. They never caught the person who did it. I guess it didn't matter enough. But it did matter. She mattered.” I look at Ms. Ofrah, but I can barely see her for all the tears. “And I want everyone to know that Khalil mattered too.”

Related Characters: Starr Carter (speaker), Khalil Harris, Natasha, April Ofrah
Page Number: 219
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 14 Quotes

“I knew that boy. Watched him grow up with you. He was more than any bad decision he made,” he says. “I hate that I let myself fall into that mind-set of trying to rationalize his death. And at the end of the day, you don’t kill someone for opening a car door. If you do, you shouldn't be a cop.”

Related Symbols: Khalil’s Hairbrush
Page Number: 256
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 20 Quotes

Hailey hands me two pictures. One is Khalil's thugshot, as Daddy calls it. One of the pictures they've shown on the news. Hailey printed it off the internet. Khalil wears a smirk, gripping a handful of money and throwing up a sideways peace sign.

The other picture, he's twelve. I know because I'm twelve in it too. It's my birthday party at this laser tag place downtown. Khalil's on one side of me, shoveling strawberry cake into his mouth, and Hailey's on my other side, grinning for the camera along with me.

Related Characters: Starr Carter (speaker), Khalil Harris, Hailey Grant
Page Number: 339
Explanation and Analysis:
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Khalil Harris Character Timeline in The Hate U Give

The timeline below shows where the character Khalil Harris appears in The Hate U Give. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Community and Loyalty Theme Icon
The Cycle of Poverty and Crime Theme Icon
Starr then sees Khalil, a close childhood friend who until recently worked at the Carter family’s store. She notices... (full context)
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Suddenly shots ring out at the party. Starr worries about where Kenya is, but Khalil grabs Starr’s hand and the two run to his car. Starr texts Kenya, who says... (full context)
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Khalil reaches for his hairbrush and combs his hair while noting that a fight between rival... (full context)
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Khalil turns on the radio and Tupac comes on. Starr thinks Tupac is old and irrelevant.... (full context)
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Starr calls Khalil out for selling drugs. He defends himself by saying his grandmother lost her job at... (full context)
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Seven texts Starr, worried about where she is. Starr and Khalil laugh about Seven’s overprotectiveness and reminisce about another old friend, Natasha, noting that the three... (full context)
Chapter 2 
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Back in the present, the officer approaches the car and Starr hopes Khalil has had “the talk” too. Khalil is immediately skeptical of what “this fool” wants. Remembering... (full context)
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...them over for a broken taillight and asks where they are coming from, to which Khalil responds with “nunya.” One-Fifteen demands that Khalil get out of the car, pins his arm... (full context)
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Finding nothing, One-Fifteen angrily tells Khalil to stay where he is and not to move while he walks back to his... (full context)
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One-Fifteen shoots Khalil three times in the back. Starr watches in horror as blood spurts from her friend... (full context)
Chapter 3
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While waiting for her parents to pick her up, Starr notes that officials “leave Khalil’s body in the street like an exhibit.” The police rummage through his car and she... (full context)
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Seven asks why they shot Khalil, and Starr responds that she and Khalil didn’t do anything wrong, and that Khalil did... (full context)
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...of Martin Luther King, Jr. with one of Huey Newton. He also says he heard Khalil “got himself killed last night.” Starr angrily makes him coffee with day-old grounds. Other regulars... (full context)
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...annoys Starr — stayed with the Carters the previous night. Kenya then expresses sympathy for Khalil’s death, and shares a bag of Cheetos with Starr as a means of comforting her.... (full context)
Chapter 4
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Starr overhears her parents arguing with Carlos, who is Lisa’s brother and a detective, about Khalil’s shooting. Carlos reveals that he is on the same force as One-Fifteen and defends his... (full context)
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...is scared of facing the police again but, with Carlos’s assurance that it will help Khalil, she agrees. (full context)
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On Sunday morning Starr and her parents visit Mrs. Rosalie, Khalil’s grandmother who also helped care for Lisa when she got pregnant with Starr. Starr is... (full context)
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Tammy, Khalil’s well-to-do aunt, is at the house as well. She and Lisa were very close when... (full context)
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Mrs. Rosalie tells Starr that she was the best friend Khalil ever had, which makes Starr feel at once heartbroken and guilty for having lost touch... (full context)
Chapter 5
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...Chris, rather than “Williamson Starr.” When Chris grabs her hand, however, she flashes back to Khalil’s shooting, unable to separate Chris’s whiteness from One-Fifteen’s. She recoils. (full context)
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Though it feels like a betrayal, Starr is relieved that no one at school mentions Khalil. At the end of the day she finds Seven with his girlfriend Layla, another black... (full context)
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...arrives, looking completely disheveled with dirty clothes and uncombed hair. She is beside herself over Khalil’s death, but Starr judges her in her grief, pointing out that she was not there... (full context)
Chapter 6
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Gomez and Wilkes ask Starr whether Khalil seemed “irate” after being pulled over by One-Fifteen, and assert that he was “hesitant” to... (full context)
Chapter 7
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Khalil’s name finally appears on the news, along with the title “Suspected Drug Dealer.” The news... (full context)
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...“fuck you” to the black men in her life. She wonders if she is betraying Khalil by dating him. (full context)
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Hailey and Maya ask if the Khalil they heard about on the news was the same Khalil who attended Starr’s birthday parties... (full context)
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...her act, asks what is going on. Starr says that because she had not seen Khalil in months before his death, she is worried about attending the funeral. She then pushes... (full context)
Chapter 8
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It is the day of Khalil’s funeral. The parking lot is packed when the Carters arrive, and Starr sees multiple people... (full context)
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...legs trembling and a wave of nausea as her family gets in line to approach Khalil’s open casket. She counts down the remaining people in front of her with increasing dread,... (full context)
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A woman wearing one of the “RIP Khalil” t-shirt and exhibiting an air of authority directs people to their seats. Starr feels like... (full context)
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...She tells the church that the police have no intention of arresting One-Fifteen, and that Khalil was unarmed at the time of his death. This latter statement in particular causes unrest... (full context)
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...front of the church and one of the King Lords lays a gray bandana across Khalil’s chest. A furious Mrs. Rosalie snatches the bandana and throws it back at King, calling... (full context)
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Starr is appalled to think that Khalil could have become a King Lord, knowing how much pain and violence gangs and drugs... (full context)
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After the funeral, protestors outside of the church hold signs demanding “Justice for Khalil”, “Am I Next?”, and “Enough Is Enough.” News vans have arrived as well. Maverick says... (full context)
Chapter 9
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That evening, protests erupt in Khalil’s name throughout Garden Heights. Maverick spends the night at his store to protect it from... (full context)
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...reason to arrest One-Fifteen. To Starr’s anger, the news makes it sound as though “it’s Khalil’s fault he died,” alleging there was a gun in the car and calling Khalil a... (full context)
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...and cigarette butts. Still, the park holds sentimental value for Starr, who played there with Khalil and Natasha. (full context)
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...watering. Lisa drives Starr to Carlos’s house. On the way, they see protestors marching for Khalil, and Lisa can sense her daughter’s feelings of guilt. Lisa tells Starr that Starr was... (full context)
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...they reconcile. She still cannot bring herself to tell him she is the witness in Khalil’s case. (full context)
Chapter 10
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...his age, but Maverick insists Tupac cared about uplifting black people. Starr tells Maverick what Khalil told her about Tupac’s definition of Thug Life. Maverick asks what Starr thinks Tupac meant,... (full context)
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...words, Starr realizes that the protests and anger in her community are much bigger than Khalil. She decides that she cannot be silent if she wants the system of oppression to... (full context)
Chapter 11
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...is going on, and Hailey reveals that her brother, Remy, is starting a protest for Khalil simply to get out of class. Making matters worse, Hailey says it is messed up... (full context)
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...overhears this and calls Starr a coward for not speaking up more on behalf of Khalil. She says that if Khalil were from Williamson, Starr would be have defended him, and... (full context)
Chapter 12
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...in her bedroom, Starr checks on the new Tumblr blog she has started called The Khalil I Know. It includes photographs and stories about Khalil that contradict and complicate the image... (full context)
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...in to talk. Maverick does not like the idea, but Starr thinks it will help Khalil, and agrees to do it. (full context)
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...Ms. Ofrah says her colleagues are out leading discussions and protests on the street where Khalil was murdered. Starr is taken aback by how easily Ms. Ofrah uses the word “murder”... (full context)
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...the District Attorney wants to talk with Starr, it means they are preparing to take Khalil’s case to a grand jury, where Starr will have to testify. Starr fears she will... (full context)
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...world will get to hear One-Fifteen’s side of the story, Starr grows determined to tell Khalil’s. Starr tells Ms. Ofrah about seeing her other friend get murdered—a word she now does... (full context)
Chapter 13
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To Starr’s surprise, DeVante says that Khalil used to talk about her. He also asserts that Khalil was not in a gang.... (full context)
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Starr begins to explain that if only the world knew the reason why Khalil was selling drugs—but DeVante finishes her thought: they would not call Khalil a “thug” like... (full context)
Chapter 14
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...why she is mad at them. Starr asks why Hailey attended the fake protest for Khalil, and Hailey defends herself by saying everyone else did it too. Maya apologizes for using... (full context)
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As he tells the story of the shooting, One-Fifteen’s father paints a picture of Khalil’s death that is nothing like what Starr experienced. He portrays both Starr and Khalil as... (full context)
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...“his life matters too.” Starr is appalled by her sympathy, believing it rightly belongs to Khalil’s family. She angrily points out that white lives always seem to matter “more.” Hailey refuses... (full context)
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Carlos admits that the interview with One-Fifteen’s father made him rethink his earlier dismissal of Khalil as nothing more than a drug dealer. He is angry with himself for trying to... (full context)
Chapter 15
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...is relatively quick, and Starr is grateful that she “doesn’t ask any stupid questions about Khalil.” While explaining the details of the shooting, however, Starr vomits. (full context)
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...is talking about, and that she better “keep her mouth shut.” Since the police know Khalil sold drugs, digging deeper into his history could lead back to King. King makes a... (full context)
Chapter 16
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...The interview itself takes place in a large, fancy suite. Carey asks Starr about the Khalil she knew, and Starr gives a heartfelt account of Khalil as a big-hearted, normal kid. (full context)
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...threats, Starr hears Kenya’s voice in her head and decides to tell the world why Khalil sold drugs. She brings up Brenda’s drug addiction, and says Khalil only dealt to get... (full context)
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Starr continues, telling the world that Khalil was not in a gang. Thinking of DeVante, Starr asserts that even if he were,... (full context)
Chapter 17
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...up about her life in Garden Heights, as well as witnessing Natasha’s death and later Khalil’s. She tells Chris about living in a smoky, rat- and roach-infested apartment in the projects.... (full context)
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...Bel-Air theme song for Starr. They dance the night away, and Starr doesn’t think about Khalil or Natasha. She calls it “one of the best nights of her life.” (full context)
Chapter 18
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...testimony. He argues with Carlos, who defends the police and says many want justice in Khalil’s case. Maverick angrily says he is not a fool and won’t pretend that some cops... (full context)
Chapter 19
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...says. The judge says they are going to discuss the details of the night of Khalil’s death. Part of Starr is terrified, but another part of her remembers that her parents... (full context)
Chapter 20
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...has been two weeks since Starr talked to the grand jury and eight weeks since Khalil’s death. Seven drives Starr to school, and appears on guard even at Williamson; he has... (full context)
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...and calls Starr a “liar” when she approaches. Hailey then hands Starr two photographs of Khalil. The first, said to be the image the news has shared, is what Maverick calls... (full context)
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Hailey calls Starr a liar for pretending not to know Khalil, and demands an apology for being called racist. Maya defends Starr by pointing out that... (full context)
Chapter 21
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Ten weeks have passed since Khalil’s death. Carlos hosts a barbeque for Memorial Day at his house that also serves as... (full context)
Chapter 22
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Thirteen weeks have passed since Khalil’s death. The Carters have moved into their new house, and Starr notes that in her... (full context)
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...Tupac song comes on the radio. He raps about making changes, and Starr thinks that Khalil was right about his continued relevance. When the song ends, an announcement comes on the... (full context)
Chapter 23
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...as Seven drives to his grandmother’s house. Starr can’t understand what went wrong, or why Khalil didn’t matter enough for his death to be considered a crime. Kids around them start... (full context)
Chapter 24
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...people to get off the streets, and realize that they have reached the street where Khalil was shot. People there are chanting “a hairbrush is not a gun.” This is Starr’s... (full context)
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...for her to “speak.” Starr says she is the one who saw what happened to Khalil, and that she wants the world to know that his life mattered. She turns to... (full context)
Chapter 26
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...the first item she put up in her new bedroom because it felt like “bringing Khalil” with her. She says that all the rioting last night was because people were angry,... (full context)
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Starr says the world called Khalil a thug, but she will remember him as a hazel-eyed boy with dimples.  She will... (full context)