When personal development coach Nova Browning Rutherford meets someone new, she knows the first thing they are going to say to her. Like many African-American women with lighter skin, she says she is constantly asked the same question. "Before they ask my name, the question was: 'So, what are you?"
In this clip from director Bill Duke's new documentary "Light Girls," women with light complexions share the common experience of being questioned about their race. "There's a safety in being able to categorize you or categorize a person," says actress Tatyana Ali. "You can assign all of your preconceived ideas about who this person is: the type of person they are, what kind of behavior you can expect from them -- only if they know what you are."