A Tennessee teen who started a online campaign page to help pay for her college fees (after her father cut her off for dating a black man) has raised more than $30,000 on GoFundMe after receiving generous donations from around the world.
High school student Allie Dowdle claims her father stripped her of her savings and refused to pay her college tuition because she refused her dad’s demand to stop dating her boyfriend, a black student named Michael Swift.
Dowdle set up a GoFundMe page on January 11, 2017 and surpassed her $10,000 goal within 24 hours. Three days later, Dowdle received a further $20,000 from supporters around the world. On the fourth day, Dowdle had $31,920 from 1,290 donors in her GoFundMe account, tripling her target.
But even with the tremendous amount of support Dowdle received, she also received a lot of criticism. The comments section of her GoFundMe page included several accusations that she should get a job or get a student loan instead of “begging for money.”
Some felt like Allie expected to be “treated like a hero'” for dating a black guy, which some felt was racist. After the backlash, the comments on her GoFundMe page were disabled, presumably by the page administrator, Allie Dowdle.
In her online pitch to donors, Allie wrote: “I’ll never forget the yelling my parents did, when they expressed how disappointed they were in me [for dating Swift], 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.”
Another critical comment on the campaign page, now removed by the administrator, read: “This campaign is an absolute insult to the millions of people who have been supporting themselves (and their families) for years, even before “they were 18,” the millions of people struggling with student loan debt, the millions of people of color who are confronted with the behemoth that is racism everyday.”
Her father has denied that he is punishing her because she has a black boyfriend. “It was never about race,” he told the New York Daily News, before admitting that Michael Swift was not his ideal son-in-law because of “issues” associated with interracial relationships in Tennessee.
Swift is older than Dowdle and now attends Clemson University in South Carolina. He and Dowdle are Facebook friends and her GoFundMe page shows the two of them posing intimately at a formal engagement.
All photos: Facebook