A Tennessee teenager has raised thousands of dollars after saying her parents cut off her college funds for dating a black student, though her father denies that the issue is about race.
Allie Dowdle, from outside Memphis, has received more than $10,000 on GoFundMe after saying that her mother and father rejected her boyfriend Michael “strictly because of his race.”
The 18-year-old private school student said that she and her boyfriend have seen each other discreetly against her parents’ wishes but, over Christmas, her parents decided “to no longer support my future” when her boyfriend approached them again.
She wrote that her parents took away her car and phone and also said that they would no longer give her money to go to college.
Her father, Bill Dowdle, who owns a sporting goods store, told the Daily News that his daughter dating a black man may not be his “preference” because of “issues” involved with biracial dating in the South, but that it is not his place to pick who she dates now that she is 18.
The elder Dowdle said “it was never about race,” that he is not a racist and that his daughter’s statements about race are “a justification and gave her the moral high ground.”
He said that he and his wife would accept whomever their daughter wanted to date, but that he disapproved of both Michael and a previous boyfriend in part because Allie had started seeing them in secret.
The father said that 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.”
Though the GoFundMe had received more than 300 donations as of Thursday evening, some commenters said that the campaign to have others pay for her education was offensive and smacked of privilege.
“Sending a white girl from a middle-class family to college is not fighting racism,” user Marissa Kizer said.
“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.”
Allie Dowdle, who did not immediately respond for a request for comment, said on her fund-raising page that she turned to the public because she has no means of transportation and cannot get a job.
Her father says that he still loves his daughter, and that he and his wife are focused on helping her graduate.