By Janice Freij, Curator of Education at the AANM

When I tell people I'm Arab American, I get various reactions. "Oh...uh...Interesting," as they slowly back away. "You're Arab? But where's the dot on your forehead?" "You're an Arab! Teach me how to make hummus!"

When I tell people I'm Arab and Mormon, their mouths just drop open and they stop breathing for at least 34 seconds. "How could that be? All Arabs are Muslim and all Mormons are white and live in Utah."

Honestly, although it gets tiring having to explain my identity to almost everybody I meet, I do enjoy the fact that I can dispel many stereotypes simply by way of my existence. The following statements are all true:

-Non-white Mormons exist
-Non-Muslim Arabs exist
-(Most) Mormon women don't wear bonnets
-Not all Arabs wear head scarves
-Not all Arabs are terrorists (although I do get pretty violent when I lose at Scrabble)
-Arab and Mormon women don't all get married at 18 and pop out 17 babies (but most do...jk...kind of)
-Arab women are educated and don't walk three steps behind men
-Not all Mormons graduate from Brigham Young University (oh wait, I did graduate from BYU!)
-Mormons are allowed to dance
-Not all Arabs have names that sound like you are clearing your throat when you say them
-Not all Mormons are related to Joseph Smith or Brigham Young
-Not all Mormons live in Utah, and not all Arab Americans live in Dearborn
-Not all Arabs/Mormons are involved in polygamous relationships
-Mormons don't worship Joseph Smith
-Arabs don't worship the moon god of Saudi Arabia
-Some Arabs actually don't drink 52 cups of coffee. And some (ok, just me) don't drink any coffee at all.