Although race has typically been mobilized to justify and uphold social inequality, recently in Nepal race was used in a political movement to oppose those in power, Susan Hangen writes in her article The Emergence of a Mongol Race in Nepal in Anthropology News February.
During the 1990s, some ethnic groups in Nepal—including Gurungs, Magars, Rais, Limbus and Sherpas, began asserting that they all belong to a Mongol race. Previously, each of these groups was primarily identified as belonging to a jati, a term that means both a caste and ethnic group. Their adoption of this racial identity was inspired by the platform of a small political party called the Mongol National Organization (MNO), which sought to unite and mobilize these social and ethnically diverse people, in part to make major political changes that would increase their social, economic and political power.
The MNO also believed that adopting a racial identity would help them to bring international attention to their political cause. Race appealed to the MNO as a global language of identity.
Like the concept of indigenous peoples, race may increasingly serve as a framework through which minorities make political claims, to the extent that it is acknowledged and validated through international institutions like the UN. Thus international efforts to expunge racism may reinforce the salience of race as an identity.
"Racialization is part of the current moment of globalization" - as anthropologist Nina Glick Schiller commented.