A Memphis, Tenn., high schooler who accused her parents of cutting her off because of her black boyfriend has raised almost $35,000 through a GoFundMe campaign meant to support her college tuition.
According to the Commercial Appeal, Allie Dowdle, a white senior at the private Hutchison School, created a GoFundMe campaign Jan. 11, pleading with the public to help her receive an education.
Dowdle explained that her misfortune started when she told her parents, Bill and Demetra Dowdle, that she was dating Michael Swift, who is black. Swift, the Commercial Appeal notes, is a former soccer standout at the Memphis University School who currently plays midfield and forward as a freshman at Clemson University. His father is former NFL player Michael Swift, who has played with the Carolina Panthers, Jacksonville Jaguars and San Diego Chargers.
Dowdle wrote in her campaign:
Hoping to share [Swift] with my family, I showed my parents his picture, and the conversation was over before it even began. My dad did not give me an option: he told me that I was not allowed to see Michael ever again. Why? Strictly because of skin color.
It wasn’t a quiet “no,” either. I’ll never forget the yelling my parents did, when they expressed how disappointed they were in me, that I could do so much better. I did not know what to do. I couldn’t comprehend how someone could be seen as less because of pigment. I still can’t comprehend it, and I never will be able to.
Dowdle said that she continued to see Swift discreetly despite her parents’ attitude, while fighting “to make my parents see Michael as a human being instead of just someone who is African American.” She said that when she and Michael approached her parents again, they cut her off.
“As I am 18, 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. “Unfortunately, I will no longer be able to attend college if I cannot come up with the money somehow. My parents also got involved with my school in attempt to get me removed from the organizations I’ve been a part of, like Coexist and Facing History and Ourselves, clubs that essentially encourage valueing and treating people equally.”
Dowdle said that although she has applied for and received scholarship money through financial aid, she is still in need of $10,000 by May 1 to cover her first year of college.
Well, as of Jan. 20, some 1,448 people have contributed $34,838, more than triple her original goal.
Dowdle’s father, Bill, spoke to the New York Daily News, saying that it may not be his “preference” for his daughter to date a black man because of “issues” associated with biracial dating in the South.
“It was never about race,” Bill Dowdle told the Daily News, adding that his daughter’s comments are “a justification and gave her the moral high ground.”
Bill Dowdle, who owns a sporting-goods store, added that he and his wife would accept whomever Allie wanted to date, but disapproved of both Michael and another previous boyfriend, in part because Allie started dating them in secret.
Bill Dowdle said that he decided to cut off her college money because she was spoiled and “it became obvious that she needed to go out in the world and grow up.”
Allie Dowdle’s campaign is not without its critics. According to the Daily News, one person online quipped, “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.”