There are many debates about peo­ple with a “migra­tion back­ground”. How­ev­er, instead of talk­ing about them, as it is so often the case, we used a mul­ti­lin­gual, rep­re­sen­ta­tive sur­vey to poll peo­ple with and with­out migra­tion sto­ries in our research project “Who can par­tic­i­pate?”. The focus was on ques­tions of how peo­ple with migra­tion sto­ries expe­ri­ence polit­i­cal and civic par­tic­i­pa­tion them­selves and what role the fac­tor “migra­tion back­ground” plays in this regard. 

As a result, it emerges on the one hand that the sta­tis­ti­cal migra­tion back­ground as a stand-alone cat­e­go­ry does not enable a dif­fer­en­ti­at­ed view on polit­i­cal par­tic­i­pa­tion. But this fine-grained view is nec­es­sary for such stud­ies. There­fore, the cat­e­go­ry must be ana­lyzed togeth­er with the self-iden­ti­fi­ca­tion with the migra­tion back­ground and the actu­al expe­ri­ences of racism. On the oth­er hand, our dif­fer­en­ti­at­ed analy­sis reveals that peo­ple with migra­tion sto­ries expe­ri­ence struc­tur­al bar­ri­ers to polit­i­cal par­tic­i­pa­tion more often. Most peo­ple with sta­tis­ti­cal migra­tion back­ground, are equal­ly engaged in soci­ety as the aver­age, but they par­tic­i­pate less in elec­tions. Peo­ple with sta­tis­ti­cal migra­tion back­ground are also more will­ing than the aver­age to  get involved, espe­cial­ly if they have had expe­ri­ences of racism them­selves. We also found out that some have stopped their involve­ment due to such expe­ri­ences of racism in par­tic­i­pa­tion.  

Remov­ing struc­tur­al bar­ri­ers to par­tic­i­pa­tion of peo­ple with migra­tion sto­ries is there­fore cru­cial to pro­vid­ing much greater sup­port for the exist­ing poten­tial for par­tic­i­pa­tion. More­over, it is cru­cial to take into account the extreme­ly diverse expe­ri­ences with­in the group of peo­ple with migra­tion sto­ries. Whether some­one self-iden­ti­fies in this way plays just as impor­tant a role as whether peo­ple have expe­ri­enced racial dis­crim­i­na­tion. Since peo­ple with migra­tion sto­ries want to par­tic­i­pate more, it is up to polit­i­cal par­ties and insti­tu­tions to mobi­lize these moti­vat­ed indi­vid­u­als and encour­age their involve­ment.