College teen Allie Dowdle raises thousands online after parents 'disown' her over black boyfriend

Michael Swift and Allie Dowdle on Christmas Day 2016 - the day they refused to keep their relationship secret for another minute. Photo / Facebook
Michael Swift and Allie Dowdle on Christmas Day 2016 - the day they refused to keep their relationship secret for another minute. Photo / Facebook

A teenager from America's Deep South who claims her family disowned her over her boyfriend's skin colour has raised almost AUD50,000 in a crowdfunding campaign.

Allie Dowdle, 18, says her parents cut off her college funds and took away her car and mobile phone after learning she was dating African-American university student Michael Swift.

Ms Dowdle, who hails from Memphis, Tennessee, has received more than triple the US$10,000 goal originally set for her GoFundMe campaign titled "Allie's Tuition - Say No To Racism".

The straight-A high school senior says Bill and Demetra Dowdle lost the plot when she showed them Michael's photograph for the first time more than a year ago, ordering her to stay away from him.

Allie's dad Bill Dowdle, who insists he is not racist, admitted his daughter dating an African American was not his 'preference'. Photo / Facebook
Allie's dad Bill Dowdle, who insists he is not racist, admitted his daughter dating an African American was not his 'preference'. Photo / Facebook


"I showed my parents his picture, and the conversation was over before it even began," Allie wrote on her crowdfunding page.

"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 (sic). 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."

The pair continued to see each clandestinely until last Christmas, when they decided to inform Mr and Mrs Dowdle that they were still together - and had no intention of splitting up.

"Their response was much more drastic than I could've ever expected," Allie recalls.

"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."

And the teen claims her parents didn't stop there. She says they approached senior staff and board members at her high school in a bid to get her removed from student clubs such as Coexist and Facing History and Ourselves, which promote race and gender equality.

"I've been applying for scholarships and have tried to get a job, but I am still living under my parents' roof because I have nowhere else to live, and my dad has done everything in his power to make the world difficult for me," Allie says, adding that even if she had a job, she would be unable to commute because she no longer has a car.

"All of this because I love another human being, as I was taught to do. How could my love for another person be wrong because of his skin color (sic)?

"And why would that make me unworthy of a future I've worked so hard for? Because my parents have listed me, their own daughter, as someone who is not worthy of their time and money, I have turned to the public for support."

Bill Dowdle denies he rejected Michael on the basis of his skin colour. In fact, he claims the real reason he and his wife cut Allie off was because they realised she was turning into a "spoiled princess".

The happy couple.
The happy couple.


"It was never about race ... it became obvious that she needed to go out in the world and grow up," he told the Daily News.

Mr Dowdle, who runs a sports supplies store in Memphis, accused his daughter of exploiting Michael's race to "give her the moral high ground".

He then proceeded to prove his daughter's point by admitting that it was not his "preference" for Allie to date an African-American because of "issues" involved with bi-racial dating in the deep south. However. since she had turned 18, it was no longer "his place" to pick who she dated, he told the News.

While Allie's campaign has received plenty of support - the huge amount of money donated is testament to that - it has also been targeted by haters and racists. The "N-word" has reared its ugly head in social media references to the couple and accusations the campaign smacks of "white privilege".

- news.com.au

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