A Tennessee high school senior has raised more than $12,000 for her college tuition after claiming her parents cut her off when she started dating an African-American student.
Allie Dowdle created a GoFundMe account in a desperate attempt to raise money to pay for school after her mother and father said they wouldn’t give their financial backing – because they didn’t approve of her new boyfriend.
The 18-year-old claims that when she told her parents she was dating a black student named Michael Swift, her dad told her she was not allowed to see him again.
‘My parents have chosen to no longer support my future, stripping me of all my resources including my personal savings, my car, my phone, and my education and leaving me on my own to pay for college,’ she wrote on the GoFundMe page.
Dowdle said she and her boyfriend have been seeing each other discreetly since she told her parents, but things went awry over Christmas when Swift approached them again.
Her father, Bill Dowdle, told the New York Daily News that issues with interracial dating in the South means the relationship wouldn’t have been his ‘preference’.
But he has insisted that his attitude was ‘never about race’, and is adamant that he isn’t a racist.
Dowdle’s father told the Daily News that he and his wife would accept whomever their daughter wanted to date.
According to Bill Dowdle, he and his wife disapproved of Swift in part because Allie had started seeing him in secret.
Swift is a 19-year-old college soccer player at Clemson University in South Carolina, where he’s a freshman studying sports communication.
Prior to college, he was part of the Philadelphia Union Academy team and went to a $20,000-a-year all-boys high school in Memphis, which is about a half-hour drive from Dowdle’s hometown of Eads, but just across the street from Dowdle’s $20,000-a-year private all-girls high school.
It is unknown how Dowdle and Swift initially met, but Dowdle is also a student athlete – she played soccer at her high school this fall.
When it comes to Allie’s college tuition, her father said he decided to cut off her college money because she has been spoiled and ‘it became obvious that she needed to go out in the world and grow up’, according to the Daily News.
Allie Dowdle wrote on her GoFundMe that the $12,000 would ‘cover the first year of my remaining out of pocket tuition for college’.
While it is unknown where Dowdle plans on attending college, she wrote that she has to have the funds by May 1.
She said that she is unable to get a job because she doesn’t have consistent transportation in her rural town, which has a population of around 6,400 people.
Early Friday morning, Dowdle posted an update on her GoFundMe page saying that it wasn’t her “intention to deliberately hurt my family”.
‘My actions reflect my conscious decision to do what I believe is right.
‘To my family, I say once again I am genuinely sorry for any pain I have caused you, but I do not regret my decision to support my future through a GoFundMe campaign,’ she wrote.
She concluded her update by thanking all of those who donated to the campaign.
But several commenters said the push to have others pay for her education portrayed privilege.
User Marissa Kizer wrote on the page: ‘Sending a white girl from a middle-class family to college is not fighting racism.’
‘In fact, expecting to avoid work, student loans, etc. and be treated like a hero for dating a black guy seems pretty racist to me.’
It’s unclear what university Dowdle is attending, but her father did say that he and his wife would help their daughter graduate.