Study Guide

City of Ashes Race

By Cassandra Clare


It was bad enough being biracial in her conservative suburban neighborhood. God knew what they'd do to a werewolf. (1.2.7)

Perhaps Maia being bi-racial helps her understand better the plight of a Downworlder. They're kind of bi-species, after all.

"You mean a lycanthrope or some other sort of Downworlder?" [Jace] arched his light eyebrows. "You all blend together to me." (1.2.45)

In this world, Jace pretending to not be able to tell Downworlders apart amounts to someone in this world walking into a room full of all black people, all East Asian people, all white people, or all Latinos—or any race, really—and saying "I can't tell you guys apart." Racism alert.

And [Jace] used a word, a word for weres that they never used themselves, a filthily unpleasant word that implied an improper relationship between wolves and human women. (1.2.60)

We have no clue what this word is, but in a werewolf bar, this is the equivalent of shouting out a horrible racial slur.

"Out, mundane," said Jace, pointing to the door. (1.2.126)

In a way, these comments of Jace's could be seen as racist in the context of this universe. He's a jerk to Simon because Simon isn't of some special magical race.

"Valentine hates Downworlders more than he hates demons. If he defeats us, he'll go after you next." (2.8.330)

All of the different Downworlder races seem concerned only with self-preservation. Jace tries to convince them that a war against one race is a war against them all, and the only way to stop Valentine is to work together.

"Don't ever compare yourself to me! […] I'm still human, still alive — you're a dead thing that feeds on blood." (2.12.44)

Maia's behavior is extra despicable here. As a bi-racial werewolf, she of all people should understand how hurtful prejudice is, and she shouldn't be contributing to it.

"You're lucky he's not as much of a bigot as you are, or I'd complain to the Clave and make the whole pack pay for your behavior." (2.12.56)

"They hated each other, so it's in our blood to hate each other too. We can't help it." (2.12.59)

This is a poor excuse from Maia. We doubt she'd be like this if she thought it was in her blood for white people and other races to hate each other.

"If the Clave goes on as they are […] the demons will see their weakness and attack, and the Clave, distracted by their endless courting of the degenerate races, will be in no condition to fight them off. (2.13.96)

Once again, we see the theme of "can't we all just get along?" United, the Downworlders can stand against Valentine, but divided against each other, they will fall.

"[Simon] wasn't human," said Valentine, in his silky voice. "He had become a monster. You just couldn't see it, Clarissa, because it wore the face of a friend." (3.18.95)

Valentine tries to transfer his hatred for Downworlders onto Clary. It might have worked for Jace (maybe this is where he gets his attitude from), but Clary is too compassionate to behave that way.

"It seems to me, Clarissa," said Valentine, "that you've had very little experience of what a demon is and what it is not. You have met a few Downworlders who seemed to you to be kind enough, and it is through the lens of their kindness that you view the world." (3.19.15)

Clary isn't falling for this line of thought either. Good thing, too, because it's an absolutely idiotic way of perceiving the world and rationalizing bigotry.