Sunday, October 16, 2011

"The Orphans" as a Team Name? Really?!

Did you know that Centralia (Illinois) High School's mascot/team name is the Orphans?  Oh, and the girls' teams are the Orphan Annies? (Yes, the picture above comes from an Orphans game. With the kids holding the signs, it looks like it could have come from some adopt-an-orphan rally, doesn't it?)

Says Wikipedia:
The Orphans got their unique nickname during the early 1900s, when the boys basketball team made it to the state tournament. The school was low on funds at the time, and the team was forced to pick its uniforms from a pile of non-matching red uniforms. The team made it to the state tournament, where an announcer commented that the team looked like a bunch of orphans on the court. The name stuck.
So what do you think?  Where does this one rank among offensive sports teams' names (assuming it makes the list at all)?  Consider this article, The Dark Side Of Sports Symbols - racism and sexism of names, symbols, gestures, and mascots:
A school's nickname is much more than a tag or a label. It conveys, symbolically, the characteristics and attributes that define the institution. In an important way, the symbols represent the institution's self-concept. Schools may have names that signify their ethnic heritage (e.g., the Bethany College Swedes), state history (University of Oklahoma Sooners), religion (Oklahoma Baptist College Prophets), or founder (Whittier College Poets). Most, though, utilize symbols of aggression and ferocity for their athletic teams--birds such as hawks, animals such as bulldogs, human categories such as pirates, and even the otherworldly such as devils.

Although school names and other symbols evoke strong emotions of solidarity among followers, there is also a potential dark side to their use. The names, mascots, logos, and flags chosen may be derogatory to some group. The symbols may dismiss, differentiate, demean, and trivialize marginalized groups such as African-Americans, Native Americans, and women. Thus, they serve to maintain the dominant status of powerful groups and subordinate those categorized as "others." That may not have been the intent of those who decided on the names and mascots for a particular school, but their use diminishes these "others," retaining the racial and gender inequities found in the larger society. School symbols as used in sports, then, have power not only to maintain in-group solidarity, but to separate the in-group from the out-group and perpetuate the hierarchy between them.
Reactions? Sure, I can make a "positive" argument for the name, a kind of "we're all orphans" argument.  (I'm a lawyer, I can make a pretty good argument for just about anything!)  But given the origin of the name and the Little Orphan Annie (how about a two-fer there, sexist and offensive to adoptees?) reference, the stronger argument is that the name reinforces all kinds of stereotypes about poor, helpless, unwanted orphans that perpetuate the whole "be grateful" meme that adoptees suffer under. 

No, it's not the most serious offense against adoptees I've ever seen, but does it have to be before we remark upon it?  Again, consider this argument from the article about racist and sexist team names:
Many see the naming issue as trivial. It is not trivial, though, to the group being demeaned, degraded, and trivialized. Some progressives argue that there are more important issues to address than changing racist or sexist names of athletic teams. This illustrates the contradiction that the naming of teams is at once trivial and important. For African-Americans, whether the University of Mississippi fans sing "Dixie" and wave the Confederate flag is not as important as ending discrimination and obtaining good jobs. Similarly, for Native Americans, the derogatory use of their heritage surrounding athletic contests is relatively unimportant compared to raising their standard of living. For women, the sexist naming of athletic teams is not as significant as pay equity, breaking the "glass ceiling," or achieving equity with men in athletic departments in resources, scholarships, and media attention.

Faced with a choice among these options, the naming issue would be secondary, but this sets up a false choice. We can work to remove all manifestations of racism and sexism on college campuses.

* * *

Symbols are extremely compelling in the messages they convey. Their importance is understood when rebellious groups demean or defame symbols of the powerful, such as the flag. Names and other symbols have the power to elevate or put down a group. If racist or sexist, they reinforce and, therefore, maintain the secondary status of African-Americans, Native Americans, or women through stereotyping, caricature, derogation, trivialization, diminution, or making them invisible. Most of us, however, fail to see the problem with symbols that demean or defame the powerless because these symbols support the existing power arrangements in society. Despite their apparent triviality, the symbols surrounding sports teams are important because they can--and often do--contribute to patterns of social dominance.
And if team names are so trivial, then it shouldn't be any problem to change them, right?!  And look how upset people get when you suggest that the Washington Redskins should change their name.  Or when a Southern school is asked to stop waving that Confederate flag around.  Suddenly it doesn't look so trivial then, does it?

So, any adoptees, birth parents, or adoptive parents from Centralia High School out there?  What do you think?  Who wants to start a petition to change the name?!


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Linda said...

I find this to be a bit much. It's one thing is the team was comprised of adult adoptlings and they named their team "The Orphans" as a tongue in cheek thing. But at a school? Not so much.

Anonymous said...

surprise. you get a big agree on this one! terrible!

The Hernandez Herd said...

Don't like it. Too many people think that orphans are characters from a disney movie and not real people. This just emphasisses that idea.

The Hernandez Herd said...

Just sent the school super a thoughtout letter. Will it make a difference(no) but at least one person out there knows there are real people behind the name orphan.

Jen said...

As someone who is very proud to call herself an ORPHAN!! Class of 1988. I personally find this crazy.

It is just a name of a school's mascot.

Does it make a bad for the wonderful people who adopt? No, it does not.

Stacy M said...

CHS Class of 1988. Am tired of all the political incorrectness crap. Am proud to be an Orphan & always will be. Or maybe we should all just name our teams after shapes, or colors, or some other "non-offensive" name. There are more important issues to be talking about than my school's mascot.

lynn elliston lapalm said...

As another proud legacy orphan...class od 1990, dad class od 66, grandparents class of 37 and 38...I say get over it! Unless you know our little two bit town made of back woods coal miners and railroaders, you wouldn't understand the pride it is to say 'I'm an orphan!' Our town has endured tragedies and bad economies and the one thing we could always count on was our orphans. Where else do u have to spend the evening in trout gym to get ur number drawn to earn the righ season tickets to watch our mighty orphans play basketball!? Our orphans are something we are proud of, even those of us who left our little town. We still look back to the good days when our orphans won the holiday tournament or went to state. Don't dare judge something you don't know. According to our sources judgement is reserved for someone or something bigger than ourselves. Lighten the hell up and let us have our thing!

Art said...

You have a better chance of teaching my dog to play the bagpipes than getting Centralia HS to change their nickname. There's a long, proud history associated with Centralia athletics; people are fiercely protective of the Orphan name. This is probably not a pot you want to stir...

lynn e l said...

Atta boy art!

lynn e l said...

Bahahaha. I was so urk'ed I typed like a hot damn mess. Fantastic

Not Easily Offended said...

I'm sure the administration at Centralia High School would probably frame and hang your letter of protest but they'd be hard pressed to find room on the wall with all the championship plaques and trophies in the way. Just another example of Orphans distinguishing themselves, rather than being an offensive moniker to overly sensitive individuals.

What an absurd and ridiculous waste of time this "article" is. Find something else to complain about or at least someone who will care to listen. Then, get over yourselves.

Beth S. said...

Proud graduate of the class of 1989. Hopefully there are a lot more important issues out there than this. Go Orphans!

DWest said...

With everything going on in the world you are really going to spend time on the nickname Ophans? Please do something worth while with your time. Lynn summed it up in her post. We have a tremendous amount of pride in the name. Go Orphans!

Anonymous said...

I am a CHS 1990 graduate and could not be happier to have cheered on the Centralia Orphans for many years along with my parents and grandparents! This article is completely rediculous! Go Centralia Orphans!

Pjaydl said...

Im sure the gentleman for whom our Orphan is modeled after would look you in the face and quietly state he was an actual "orphan" who grew up in an orphanage and not under pleasant circumstanes would also quietly state how honored and humbled he is to have his likeness stand alongside the CHS Orphans as Mascot. Do not presume to know the whole story. Proud Orphan Alum class of 1990!

OrphanAnnie94 said...

Do your homework! You should really know what you are talking about before you write a public blog! Orphan Nation is strong and proud and will happily set you straight. You may have bitten off more than you can chew with this cutesty little editorial.

Anonymous said...

Ridiculous! CHS Class of people really should find something better to do with your efforts....

Anonymous said...

Proud to say I was a Orphan Annie Class of 2001 you really should find something better to do with your time I happen to know one of the kids in your picture you posted and the child and family are proud supporter of their Centralia Orphan!!!!! Leave our town alone oh and good luck to you all that the name is so offensive and wasted your time writing letters us PROUD CENTRALIA ORPHANS will let you know how that's going for you :) LET'S HEAR IT FOR THE ORPHANS!!!

Anonymous said...

Tina S. Proud Orphan, Class of '89. I, my friends, and my family are all proud of our winningest highschool basketball team in the nation! U really opened a can of worms messing with us.

Anonymous said...

You have no idea what you have just stirred up! I hope you are ready for this....cause you are in for it, big time! Proud CHS Orphan 90.

malinda said...

To all the faux Orphans:

Welcome to my blog! Always glad to give a forum to all sides of an issue, even your comments that show a remarkable ignorance and insensitivity about adoption and actual, real orphans.

My children are actual, real orphans. If they were to attend your charming little high school, I'm sure they would soooo appreciate the reminder of that painful situation every day of the week.

BTW, I never censor comments, never delete comments. But in exchange for that openness to contrary opinions, I ask that the discussion remain respectful. Easiest way to keep it polite is to refute the arguments in the blog post, rather than making it personal.

Anonymous said...

"you wouldn't understand the pride it is to say 'I'm an orphan!'"

Are these folks for real? Who raised them?

"Our town has endured tragedies and bad economies and the one thing we could always count on was our orphans."

Oh, STFU. Really.

Anonymous said...

faux orphans??? Just so you know, there were some actual orphans who went to this school and they do not have a problem with the name "Orphans". Get off your soap box and come visit us....then write your blog.

Anonymous said...

BTW, I just love your colors red and white. They are the Orphans colors :)

Sandra H said...

As another proud alum, class of 1988, of Centralia HS, I feel I need to add my 2 cents. I am not an actual "orphan" in the way that you describe. What I am is a member of "Orphan Nation" which is a large group of people all across this nation (and this world) that remain true and loyal to our small town and it's sports teams.
You talk of your own children who are "actual real orphans"...I would argue that point with you. If they are your children they are no longer orphans. They have become your "family" just as our group of alum have become family.
You can take our nickname/mascot and make it into anything you want, you can make it have any meaning that you want, but the people that come from our town will now and always be, very protective of our mascot. For us, the name means "family".

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, it's just awfully hard to take an article seriously that quotes from Wikipedia.

Come visit before you write such a ridiculous piece about nothing.

Anonymous said...

I'm not an Orphan, (CHS or actual), but I guarantee if I were, I certainly wouldn't take offense at CHS's mascot being named as such! In fact, if I were an actual orphan and went to school there, I'd take great pride in our school name/mascot! It'd motivate me to do great things and then look at everyone else as if to say, "See what "orphans" can accomplish!" That's what hard working, blue collar, midwestern conservatives do! You're looking at this all wrong! CHS has NEVER degraded orphans! On the contrary! They have excelled and done great things in the name of orphans everywhere! They take great pride in their name and what/who they represent! Every single CHS Orphan win on the field or in the classroom is a win for all orphans! It represents what can be accomplished, rather than sitting back with a "poor me" attitude, complaining about what bad things have happened, and blaming everyone else for my problems and the deal life has delt me. In 1922, the CHS Orphans took a bad situation, pulled themselves together, and made something AMAZING happen, and they're still doing it today at CHS giving the name "Orphan" a good name and something for all orphans to be very proud of for years to come!

Anonymous said...

Way to victimize ur kids. 'Terrible' really? Earthquakes in haiti are terrible. Hurricane katrina was terrible. Our mascot, hardly terrible.
Btw. To whomever questioned our upbringings... We were raised by down to earth normal people

Donna B. said...

I'm a proud member of Centralia Orphans class of 1984. My brother-'81, my mom -'61, my dad-'59, my grandma-'34...I can list the cousins and rest of the family tree but I think you get the point.

Don't judge or disrespect a tradition just because you don't understand it.

I would think an adoption site would of all things embrace a group that wear t-shirts, have banners, and proudly display the fact they are ORPHANS. There is no negative connotation here. No defamation, no disrespect...nothing but love for a moniker we have proudly displayed for years.

We are PROUD to be ORPHANS! So why aren't you? Maybe you should consider teaching this to the beautiful and fortunate children your site supports. Make these kids proud. There is no shame in our history, and there is no shame in theirs.

Anonymous said...

"I'm not a Nigger, (CHS or actual), but I guarantee if I were, I certainly wouldn't take offense at CHS's mascot being named as such! In fact, if I were an actual nigger and went to school there, I'd take great pride in our school name/mascot! It'd motivate me to do great things and then look at everyone else as if to say, "See what "niggers" can accomplish!" That's what hard working, blue collar, midwestern conservatives do! You're looking at this all wrong! CHS has NEVER degraded niggers! On the contrary! They have excelled and done great things in the name of niggers everywhere! They take great pride in their name and what/who they represent! Every single CHS Nigger win on the field or in the classroom is a win for all niggers! It represents what can be accomplished, rather than sitting back with a "poor me" attitude, complaining about what bad things have happened, and blaming everyone else for my problems and the deal life has delt me. In 1922, the CHS Niggers took a bad situation, pulled themselves together, and made something AMAZING happen, and they're still doing it today at CHS giving the name "Nigger" a good name and something for all niggers to be very proud of for years to come!"

You can't make words mean what you think they mean -- they actually have a very different meaning to others.

Anonymous said...

"I'm a proud member of Centralia Orphans class of 1984. My brother-'81, my mom -'61, my dad-'59, my grandma-'34...I can list the cousins and rest of the family tree but I think you get the point."

Donna B, it's so nice that you can list your whole family tree. It would be super great if I could do that. But wait... I can't. As an adoptee, I can't tell you where my mother or father went to high school. I don't know if I have siblings or uncles or aunts. And I may or may not be an "orphan". See because I know nothing about where I came from, I don't know if my parents are alive or dead.

As for all the "If I was ___ I'd be ___" comments, you don't know until you have walked in those shoes. So please, stop pretending that if you really were an orphan, which you aren't, you'd feel proud. You don't know. I know what it feels like to be proud of a home team. So I get your pride. But I have some too, and I find the name offensive.

For you it's a sports team, for me it's a way of life.


Anonymous said...

To the person that posted the stupid comment after mine- of course you posted anonymously. Don't use this legitimate discussion for your inflammatory nonsense. Centralia Orphans do not want your kind of support. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Lighten up Jenn. It's a sports mascot.

malinda said...

I love the "lighten up, it's just a sports mascot" comments. If it's so unimportant -- just a sports mascot -- why not change it? Why all this defensiveness if it's so insignificant as to be beneath my notice or attention?

If it shouldn't matter to real orphans, why does it matter to you? Of course it matters to you -- it's a symbol of belonging, of collegiality, etc. But to others it's a symbol of exclusion.

mike mcmanus said...

So glad to see that all of the world's ills have been cured and this is all we have left to worry about.
As some others have done, Malinda, I invite to come to our town and see the pride which is felt by being part of "Orphan Nation". And contrary to what some have posted, this is not just a sports mascot. It's very much a key part of the identity of our town.

Mike McManus, Sports Editor of the Centralia Sentinel and a proud, proud graduate of CHS Class of 1987.

mike mcmanus said...

So, in the last two weeks, we have someone suing SeaWorld because the whales are slaves and someone else who finds this nickname offensive.
Glad everything else is solved.

Anonymous said...

Wow whoever made this post your ignorant, we will forever be #ORPHANS! #Orfan4Life

CHS_1994! said...

Loud and Proud Orphan. My grandpa was an "orphan" my dad uncles aunts myself ALL ORPHANS!!! My daughter will be a proud Annie. I am proud of mine and my childrens school and the girls and boys who proudly where the orphan red and white. I really dont think you want to go there. We are proud of our history that would be like some corporation coming into your town and tearing down a historical building. It wont happen. Thank you Mr Trout and Mr Evers!!!! Dont mess with The Orphans!!!!!!

CHS_1994! said...

We will always defend Orphan Nation. That will not change. Manny generations have been orphans and are so proud of it. This is our towns history where we came from. The coal miners, farmers, rail roaders. Like I stated previously it would exactly like someone coming to your town and tearing down something your community cherished. We will always stand up and defend that.

Anonymous said...

To all the ignorant "Orphans" who have no f&cking clue what they are talking about: (((INSERT OBSCENE GESTURE HERE))).

You ignorants make me SICK. Your defense of your school's stupid mascot name is vomit-enducing. The name IS OFFENSIVE to those of us who are true orphans.


PS: I think your school's mascot should be "head up the @ss".

Tina said...

I'm class of '83, Hubby is class of '81, son is class of '11 and daughter will graduate 2014...we could not prouder to have been/be Orphans! If you don't like our schools name-don't send your kids here!

Anonymous said...

I have read all the posts above and thought I would put in my two cents...
In 1979 I lost both my parents and brother and sister to a car wreck and was placed in "the system" for many years to follow. In 1982 I was taken to a children's home in Centralia, Illinois in which I was put into CHS as an incoming Freshman. I will never forget that day.
The girl who showed me around CHS told me of the school's history and it's mascot name. "You see," she said with a tear in her eyes when I told her my circumstance, "We are all Orphans here, and we are your new family." From that day on CHS and the town's great people did become my family, and I will forever love them for that.
My wife and I have adopted three orphans so far, and working on our fourth, and I take offense as an Orphan in every respect of the word, to those who judge us with their ignorance. An orphan just wants to belong, and gratefully Centralia is one of those small Midwestern towns where everyone immediately becomes part of the family. I do not think the mascot name is degrading or offensive, quite the contrary. I believe that the mascot sheds light to boys and girls like myself yearning for some place to belong, to call their own, and Centralia is one of those unique great places that welcomes everyone, no matter what race, gender or religion they are.
One thing that was taught to us at the children's home was to have pride in ourselves, and I can honestly say that I am proud to be a Centralia Orphan class of 1985, and proud of the family that was afforded to me by the great people of Centralia!

Anonymous said...

Good Luck getting the name changed. This town has pride in its Orphans and Annies. I didnt see anywhere in your article that we are the winningest high school basketball team in the nation. I didnt see anything in there about how this entire town backs their team win or lose. I think you have too much time on your hands. Did protesting military funerals get old or something? Centralia class 1999

CK Brink said...

To compare the word "orphan" to a racial slur or imply that "orphan annie" is sexist is nothing but inflammatory rhetoric. Are some nicknames like Redskins offensive. Probably. However, you can't give ethnic nicknames (like the Celtics, the Swedes, the Vikings, the Indians, Hoosiers, etc.) a pass and at the same time aver that orphan is intolerant and offensive. In this day and age of mandatory tolerance, who is excluding or ridiculing orphans or adopted children?
Our nickname is just as symbolically important to us as the ethnic nicknames stated above and in the blog; maybe even more so. Our nickname is what sets our otherwise unremarkable, nondescript little town apart, is what brings us all together to cheer for our boys and girls, is what makes us is WHO WE ARE. To call this otherwise simple word insulting or intolerant is in itself intolerant....and completely missing the point of our civic pride in our town and our pride in our Orphans. How could this possibly seen as a bad thing?
CK Brink, CHS '90

Chad H said...

PROUD ORPHAN 1989....... remember being a kid and hearing "Sticks and Stones may break my Bones, BUT WORDS CAN NEVER HURT ME". It is a sad state that the world is so easily offended by words. As a survivor of child sexual abuse, I am not offended to hear the words sexual abuse victim. I truely wish that every person without a parent in their life or who has never known their parents or who was abandoned as a child would come be a part of ORPHAN NATION. Come to Centralia Illinois, go to a sporting event and become part of our FAMILY, we will welcome you with open arms. Some of the Orphan Nation have taken me in when I had nowhere else to go, some were my real family, some were just friends and fellow CHS ORPHANS. Instead of silencing this, you as parentlessORPHANS should be EMBRACING the fact that there is a place where EVERYONE is PROUD TO BE AN ORPHAN. Come find the family you do not have and be a part of ORPHAN NATION. Quit letting words damage you, it will lead to unwanted stress or depression. RISE UP ABOVE A WORD AND BE STRONG. ORPHAN STRONG!!!!!!!!!!!

Sportsmom said...

Give me a break!!! The entire town of Centralia would welcome any and all persons, who find our mascot offensive, to attend any sporting event that involves the Orphans or Orphan Annies. Please come so you can witness for yourself how much PRIDE there is in our mascot. You would not be able to help feeling the same pride.

Please find something more constructive to do with your time.


Stacy M said...

Since we don't think our name is inflammatory we should have no problem changing it? Only a lawyer would use that kind of logic. You will not win this one. Even though some of us have moved from the town we are still united & will always be proud to be Orphans. Maybe you should do your research a little more thoroughly next time. We all know how "reliable" Wikipedia is.

Mike Neff said...

In all that is wrong in this world, you want to try and solve this "crime against humanity"? Really? There are so many things that warrant your help and you're going to waste your time onTHIS? I got an idea for ya. Go to home depot, buy some lumber, build a bridge, and get over it!

malinda said...

So, someone want to tell me what wikipedia got wrong?! Is the story about the sportscaster calling the ragtag crew from CHS orphans, and the name sticking not true?

And I have to tell you, regardless of the origins of the name, its persistence shows great insensitivity, so how does the origin story matter?

I love all the "you will not win" statements -- what am I trying to win?!

Not matter how many people love the name, no matter how proud you are of the name, no matter what meaning YOU attribute to the name, you can't convince everyone to see it the same way you do, anymore than I can convince everyone to see it the same way I do.

Deal with it (as you are all so fond of telling me!)

malinda said...

CK Brink says: "Are some nicknames like Redskins offensive. Probably. However, you can't give ethnic nicknames (like the Celtics, the Swedes, the Vikings, the Indians, Hoosiers, etc.) a pass and at the same time aver that orphan is intolerant and offensive."

Thank you for addressing the merits of the argument. Who is giving these other names a pass? I'm not!

But why is Orphans different from racial and ethnic names? We're still talking about immutable characteristics, and groups with a history of discrimination. So why say Redskins is probably offensive but "Orphans" not?

jjsmom said...

Lisa V. Class of 87. I can see where you may question our unique name. I've explained where our Orphan name comes from many times to visitors. I think Sandra H. said it very well. Why does being an orphan have to be a bad thing? We are a small town, with big pride and we are like family. Our town and its residents have been through alot over the years. Some of us have a big family, some small, some adopted, some fostered, and some live in the childrens home. It doesn't matter. We are still one big family and proud of our citizens and mascot. Please come visit our small town and our high school. Talk with our citizens and our children. Maybe you could learn something about us and get to know some of us before you judge us.

Anonymous said...

I find it sad that such a high educated person as yourself would write such an article about a town, their people, and the name of their high school team without interviews or visiting their small town. Especially since you call yourself a lawyer. These people have endured many hardships. But you wouldn't know that.... They have lost many loved ones. But you wouldn't know that... They have taken children who are homeless into their families. But you wouldn't know that.... When a family is in need, they come together to help. But you wouldn't know that.... This town, these people, their children...welcome all with open arms. They are friendly and loving people who give a hand when a child is in need. These are not people who are using the word "ORPHAN" in a bad way. They are embracing something that happened to them a long time ago and doing positive things. They are holding on to their history and what it means to be a part of this town. But you wouldn't know that.... You are so narrow minded, you can't see beyond the name Orphan. Get to know them and what it means to the people, then you have a leg to stand on when writing this blog.

Anonymous said...

Are you an Orphan? I am, so please do not presume to think what is offensive to me or other orphans. I think it is admirable what you are trying to do with your blog, by drawing attention to the issue of children without families. But I think you are missing the point here, Centralia is not demeaning or belittling orphans throughout the world. Nor do I believe that the mascot was intended to pay homage to the issue. But as an orphan (one without parents) and a Centralia Orphan, I will tell you that Centralia High School does remarkable work with various charity organizations throughout the world. We are proud of our heritage, Orphan Pride, and as one who viewed those members of the staff and students of CHS as the only family I knew as a child, I feel that you are speaking about something you know nothing about. Please do not try and tell the world was is offensive to me and others like me unless you have walked in our shoes.
Again, I have looked over your blog, and believe your intentions to be true. I also believe that the work you do on behalf of orphans is remarkable, but please ask those of us who live in the area who are truly without parents if we are offended by the mascot name and we will tell you without hesitation that we are blessed to have a family in a school that many do not get to share.

Stacy M said...

I'm just saying that instead of relying only on Wikipedia, come & visit Centralia. See the school, get to know the people.

So Orphans is offensive, all Native American/ethnic names are offensive. I'm sure PETA wants all animal names removed. I bet somebody, somewhere is offended by something.

I am going to continue supporting my friends who have adopted abroad & here in the States. I am going to continue to support Christian adoption agencies. And I'm going to continue to support my hometown & it's sports teams.

This will also be my last post on here. No matter what I say, you will come back with a condescending "I know better than you attitude". So continue to pat yourself on the back. I will continue to root on my team. Especially once basketball starts up. Go Orphans. :)

jjsmom said...

wow. To the anonymous individual that is a "real" orphan from Centralia. I'm so glad you posted on here. Reading your post brought a tear to my eye. People like you are what make our town great. You overcame your obstacle and you are now helping other children to do the same. Good for you and thank you for the positive input. Go Orphans! Go Orphan Nation!

theadoptedones said...

"We are proud of our history"

"I can list the rest of the family tree"

An orphan has no history, not even a birthdate...just a found date.

An orphan has no identity or family tree...just a name given by the orphanage.

An orphan has no community...just people who are paid to oversee dozens of children.

What I find so amusing is how many felt a need to defend the name Orphan by associating it with all the things a true orphan does not have.

Then further stating that your achievements set an example for an orphan that they can do great things - way to go - your snobbery is showing with the assumption that an orphan is less than capable, simply because they are an orphan...

Then bravely stating that others need to get over themselves, and to grow up and worry about bigger things, and that sticks and stones may break bones but words can never hurt you...

Yet look at how many of you seemed to find this to be such an important subject that you needed to come here, just to vent about the injustice of anyone having the audacity to have an issue with a team being called Orphans.

malinda said...

"Get to know them and what it means to the people, then you have a leg to stand on when writing this blog."

This is just the familiar "we don't mean anything bad by it" argument.

Things can be offensive to the listener EVEN WHEN the speaker doesn't mean to offend.

The question is, what are you, as a speaker, going to do about it when you learn you've been offensive?

malinda said...

Thanks for all the invitations to visit Centralia. Tell me why I would want to visit a bunch of people who have insulted me and threatened me?

And all of you "don't judge" people -- why is it ok to judge me? Why is it ok for Lynne Elliston LaPalm to say on her facebook page:

"Oh I can completely picture this over the top chick who traded in her prada for a kid 'accessory' because angelina jolie did. Now she's strapped with a kid that she can use for attention and turn into a poor helpless victim to add to the over entitled leftist elite. Wah f#*king wah"

Yeah, doesn't that sound like the wholesome Midwest town I'd want to visit?!

mike mcmanus said...

"My children are actual, real orphans. If they were to attend your charming little high school, I'm sure they would soooo appreciate the reminder of that painful situation every day of the week."

Malinda, your children are not orphans. They are your children. We have a childrens home located within 2 miles of the "charming little high school" and not once have I ever heard any of them, or those who are employed by the children's home, ask the high school to consider a nickname change. Again, being an Orphan is different than being an "orphan".
Finally, I again invite you to fly to St. Louis, make the hour drive east and see what our town is about.
Mike McManus
Centralia Sentinel Sports Editor and a proud "Orphan for life"

Anonymous said...

Nobody really knows why the team Centralia team is called the “Orphans”. It could be the Wikipedia story. The basketball coach from 1914-1950 was Arthur Trout. His favorite movie was “Orphans of the Storm” staring Lillian Gish. The movie came out in 1921. For a while the team was actually called “Orphans of the Storm”. The movie is an inspirational story about two sisters struggling to overcome impossible odds (blindness and French Revolution to name a few things). It is very possible that Trout used the movie as a rally tool for his team to overcome the odds and win. The movie came out in 1921 – Centralia won the state championship in 1922.
One thing we do know is they are not named Orphans because of mine disaster that happened in Centralia in 1947 that killed 111 men.
So before you get your political correct knickers in a twist please weigh the whole story.

malinda said...

Mike, I wish it were as easy as you think for abandoned children to stop being "orphans" just because they now have a family. The loss of a first family isn't erased by the acquisition of a second one, anymore than a remarrying widow suddenly forgets the loss of her first husband.

One of the most difficult thing for adopted kids is the dichotomy between how they view their adoption and how everyone else views it. For me, my kids' adoptions were the happiest moments in my life. For my kids, it was the loss of everything they knew.

Imagine how it feels when everyone is celebrating and cheering something that brings you pain. You learn that there's something profoundly wrong with how you feel. How can you be unhappy on Adoption Day when everyone else is celebrating?

No, I'm not saying that every person/child will react the same way. But you might want to do your homework about adoption loss, grief and pain before commenting on what all the orphans you barely know think. And you surely don't know what my kids think and feel.

Anonymous said...

"The question is, what are you, as a speaker, going to do about it when you learn you've been offensive?"

So the team name ORPHAN offended you and you offended the town of the Orphans.

I guess there isn't anything else to say since the conversations are not going anywhere.

Since you have our attention, why not give us suggestions on ways to help real orphans. This way we can do something constructive and positive with our time. Here's your chance!

I'm listening and willing to help children....I'm sure the rest of us who are Centralia Orphans would gladly help also. Maybe we should turn this into a positive situation instead of making it more negative.

theadoptedones said...


"I'm listening and willing to help children....I'm sure the rest of us who are Centralia Orphans would gladly help also. Maybe we should turn this into a positive situation instead of making it more negative."

According to Mike McCannus you have this in your own backyard...

"We have a childrens home located within 2 miles of the "charming little high school"...

Anonymous said...

Wow, the negativity doesn't stop.....

Just trying to turn this into something positive "theadoptedones".

Anonymous said...

To those it may concern, technically speaking, I AM an orphan, although I didn't lost both parents, if you look up the definition of "orphan" many people define "orphan" has having lost a parent as an infant, and, well, that's me. I lost my father at three months. It affected me a great deal. I am ALSO a graduate of Centralia High School. I have NEVER been offended by the use of the Orphan or Orphan Annie. Here's a suggestion to all those shouting from the rooftops-instead of all this (in my mind) making much ado about nothing, why don't you use all this wasted energy DOING something about all the orphans in the world, not to mention the wars MAKING them, the poverty, the disease, the education crisis, the homelessness, and on and on and on...don't we have bigger fish to fry and then excuse me, bitching about a mascot name, we have major issues that we need to be focusing our time and energy on, and yes, one of those is helping the parentless children in this world. We may not be able to change the whole world, but maybe we can change a little corner of it, but I'm pretty certain we can't change it sitting on our laptops bitching about the CHS Orphans! Just my opinion...

Pjaydl said...

Wow. Our model for our mascot was a true life orphan who was never adopted and aged out of his orphanage. He is proud to be our orphan. My sister was an orphan and my parents were her eventual fosters and adopted her. She graduated from CHS in 1985 and is still a proud Orfan! I myself have worked in our local childrens home and never heard any of those kids complain that they were offfended! So, while I commend your support of orphans everywhere, to presume a town and its loyal fans of our local Orphan team are all ignorant because we see our mascot as something to be proud of and defend makes you appear as small minded as you wrongly deem us to be.

Anonymous said...

Malinda, thank you. I think we were all about to be a little bored because football season just ended and basketball season hasn't started yet. You just gave us some entertainment on a rather nondescript Monday.

Thanks again!
Orphan Nation

Anonymous said...

The name has been around for over 100 years. Numerous orphans--children without parents--have graduated from the school and as seen in the comments above, express great pride in the school. In a time when children go to bed hungry every night and the world is full of suffering, why are you wasting your time on this?

Anonymous said...

Really! This is fucking retarded. Step away from the computer and leave it alone its our town our mascot we like it you dont who gives a shit! your offended its not like we are a tourist stop so find something better to do. Get a life and leave us the hell alone!

lynn e l said...

I couldn't care less if you approve of our traditions. I also couldn't care less if you visit our town. You certainly wouldn't get it. I'm slightly amused that you stalked my facebook for quotes. The bottom line is that you don't get it. It's not in your DNA to grasp pride in something outside yourself or your cause. GO ORPHANS

mike mcmanus said...

Malinda, I have tried to stay above board with you and would hope you would do the same. Maybe I should not assume how those kids at the childrens home feel, just as you shouldn't, either.
Since getting turned on to this blog last night, I have racked my brain trying to think back if the high school nickname has ever been a source of controversy. In my lifetime, I do not recall such an occurrence. Instead, being an Orphan in Centralia has been a source of pride, commitment and community. You have had people from Centralia who were orphaned come onto your blog and tell you their own stories about being an orphan or a foster child.
Those stories are not fiction. They are from real people who residents of our small community. If they are not offended, that is good enough for me and should me more than enough for you.

Duff said...

I am a Centralia High School Alumn and was a proud OrFAN Annie. I don't see how the name can be so offensive since it has been around for so long. Do you even go to this high school? Do you even live around the high school? Or are you just trying to bide your time slamming on others because no one wants to hire you to take on their cases? Maybe if you spent more time trying to come up with community plans and charities to help actual Orphans instead of dissing on a team that rubbed you wrong you wouldn't be wasting so much time on this little blog of yours. It is a great team name that we didn't choose for ourselves. A commentator actually said we looked like Orphans because the school was too poor to afford decent uniforms. So maybe you should take this up with them. As far as the name goes there have been plenty of legitimate Orphans who have gone to Centralia High School and were also proud of that name, so if they aren't complaning, who the hell are you to write to OUR superintendent when you aren't even from the area? How about you move to Centralia, start paying taxes there and then write your little letter. Until then I feel like you should get back to trying to find some clients because you have clearly gone stir crazy.

Stephanie P. said...

I am from the Class of 2000 and I am very proud of my hometown and their accomplishments!

1. You are not an orphan if you are adopted and have a family.

2. If your children are adopted, they are not orphans, they have you..correct?

3. The name "Orphan" is only going to offend those that put negativity to the name. The name came from the fact that Centralia High School had no money to buy uniforms. However; this unfortunate fact did not stop them from reaching their goals.

4. Miranda stated: "My children are actual, real orphans. If they were to attend your charming little high school, I'm sure they would soooo appreciate the reminder of that painful situation every day of the week."

I am almost done completing my social work degree, so let me give you a piece of advice. If you continue to shove the word orphan down your children's throats, and let them use it to always be offended, that is all they are ever going to be, society's perception of "ORPHAN". Also, you are using orphan in a negative light because you are stating that people should be offended by this team name. Please do not let your children hear or see you use this term, as they may become offended by your words.

5. I am a former foster child, and I do not take offense to this name, simply because they are a strong foundation, not just in sports, but as a community. However, I never viewed orphans as bad thing, just unfortunate, and lets see what we can do to help them.

I hope this helps. God Bless America for freedom of speech, and God Bless the Centralia Orphans and Annies, and may they continue to succeed and shine through the unfortunate circumstances that was their beginning.

Jim Rhino said...

As a very proud Orphan, and one of the very few men to have been a varsity cheerleader at Centralia High School, I can honestly say that the pride we feel as Orphans runs much deeper than any superficial Disney-esque group of characters. Named in the spirit of the times, not to modern hyper-bloated political correctness, the history, the tradition, and the camraderie Orphans share is second to none. Lynn & Art have pretty much hit the nail on the head, so I will simply say... GO ORPHANS!!

Jim Rhino said...

BTW...Well said to Mike, Duff & Stephanie as well.

Anonymous said...

CHS Class of '91. While I myself am not a literal Orphan, I do have an adopted cousin who is also a CHS graduate. I emailed this blog to her and she laughed out loud. When I asked her for her perspective on the potential 'offensiveness' of our mascot name, she stated that she had never once given it a thought nor has she ever in her life considered it to be offensive. While a traditional 'orphan' from overseas, she is not part of two families: her adoptive family as well being a part of the Orphan Nation. Both of the families have overcome odds and are shining examples of overcoming hardships and maintaining a fighting spirit.

d133d8d4-03ee-11e1-9ccd-000bcdcb8a73 said...

I too am a Centralia Orphan class of 78. I like the fact that our team had a unique name... In a sea of "Tigers" and "Rams" and "Blue Jays" and "Bears" and "Devils" and "Angels" and "Bobcats" and "Lions", the Orphans stand out as something different something unique.

The term orphan out in the world at least in the US is practically non existent these days. They used to call places that house kids without homes "Orphanages" These days those places don't house "orphans" for the most part. They house kids from troubled homes. The kids without parents are adopted primarily into loving homes that cherish them. The kids who are falling into sad and intolerable lives... at least in this country are not orphans they are people in homes that are broken and shattered for other reasons for the most part.

Why someone thinks it is her business to search and search for someone some town some name she can point a finger at and say THERE! THEM! THEY ARE NOT DOING WHAT I THINK THEY SHOULD AND I AM GOING TO DO SOMETHING TO STRAIGHTEN THEM OUT SO THE WORLD CAN BE A BETTER PLACE... is beyond me. If you want to make the world a better place Malinda I might suggest looking at your own life and finding ways you can better the lives of others through your own actions... Fingerpointing is not a very beneficial action. Kindness and generosity and love those are admirable traits that benefit mankind.

When someone finds out I am an "Orphan" it gives me a chance to discuss the meaning of the word and all of my thoughts about it. If anything it brings the needs of hurting children into the conversation and initiates more compassion for them than anything negative it might do to them. But you have to blog about something I suppose so blog on. We Orphans are named such cause people looked at us and said THERE! THEM! THEY ARE NOT DRESSED RIGHT THEY ARE NOT A REAL TEAM... We have been under the finger pointing gun since the very beginning. Keep on pointing I suppose. We will continue to play our best and overcome whenever we can.. cause WE ARE THE ORPHANS MIGHTY MIGHTY ORPHANS!!!


Karen A said...

It is a weird mascot, but I always thought it was a fitting tribute to our town's history and unique position in the state. On March 25, 1947, the Centralia No. 5 coal mine explosion near the town killed 111 people, leaving many of the town's children without fathers. Not an intentional link, but in so many ways this is a fitting name for a team in this town. We're in the middle of Southern Illinois, abandoned by most state representatives who were and ARE obsessed with Chicago politics. We've had a hard mining history and have seen a lot of factories shut down. We were always seen as underdogs and still managed to do well, which is what the spirit of the mascot suggests. We wear the name with pride. I hope that you can find a way to be proud if you feel someone underestimates YOU.

Anonymous said...

As a very proud Orphan class of 90 I have to agree with Lynn and everyone else in here. My mom was an orphan in both senses of the word. She did not take offense to any of her high school time. She is a proud finder of a loving home and loving high school family. There were not bullies at our school just gatherings of all colors, shapes, sizes cheering on the BEST high school!! GO ORPHANS and ANNIES!!

Anonymous said...


Thanks for posting this. I'm an Orphan and an orphan and I ALWAYS hated that mascot. I wish I had been brave enough to say so when I was a student at CHS. There were others who felt the same way I did, but none of us wanted to rock the boat. We knew we'd be bullied the way you're being bullied.

I was teased as a child about being an orphan, told that my birth parents didn't want me, that I must have been an ugly baby. That makes it hard to believe that people only have positive images of orphans.

Thanks for speaking out for those of us too afraid to.

Won't use my name for obvious reasons.

Anonymous said...

I find it hard to believe the last post is real. Sounds like the blogger pretending to get support for her blog post.

Anonymous said...

Malinda, it seems like YOU are the one with a problem regarding the word "Orphan". Why would you be teaching your children and your blog community to take offense to something that stands for so much to so many people? You are a very narrow minded person if you cannot see how all Orphans (parent-less children and sports fans alike) can be proud of this mascot. Wouldn't your children benefit from hearing these positive stories and how much it means to be called an "Orphan"? It's parents and people like you who are making this country a bunch of crybaby softies! I am not from Centralia, however, it's obvious to anyone who can read that this mascot is source of pride and community. Stop overanalyzing things you don't really understand and are unwilling to open your mind to. Since when did a school's mascot become demeaning instead of an honor? Schools choose their mascots based on strong, important figures to that community, otherwise mascots would have to be things like, I don't know, paper and pens? You would probably have a problem with that, too, though.

Anonymous said...

I, too, think the post a few back it not real. In Centralia, people are very outspoken and stand up for what they think and believe. I have a hard time believing that a group of people would be offended and wouldn't say something about it. And it isn't that we only see positive images of Orphans, it's that we take a bad situation and turn it into something to be proud of!

Debbie Mitchell said...

I graduated a proud orphan in 1977.You are messing with A LONG STANDING TRADITION WHICH WE TAKE VERY SERIOUSLY, YOU BETTER BACK OFF HERE! You really don't know what you have started . Don't mess with things that don't directly effect you.WE are Orphans and proud of it and you don't even know what you are talking about you just saw a picture and stirred your politically correct agenda.This isn't political it school pride and we have it and you better not mess with it!

MiMi GO ORPHANS said...

This town, its history, and pride with the team name could be flipped into a positive light and teaching opportunity for you to use with your children. To me it seems as if you want your children to dwell on the fact that they were once orphans instead of embracing it. Yes it would be a hard experience for a child to go through with losing one family and joining another not knowing what the future could hold. Being a Centralia Orphan lasts for life with a sense of pride just like becoming a member of a new family. Its not something that just takes place for a matter of minutes, days, or years. It is a part of you for life. The team/town has overcomer many hurdles throughout the years just like an adopted orphans will as well. The great accomplishments should be embraced by both types of orphans not frowned upon because of a word. The great accomplishments of the Centralia Orphans can be encouragement that overcoming things is possible and that the bond that all of orphan nation can be felt by individuals that now just live in the town and never attended the school. It is a feeling of belonging and "family" with people that we would have never have known if it had not been from going to the school or a sporting event of one of the great ORPHANS and ANNIES teams. If you look down upon the word orphan then most likely your children will too if u embrace it so will they. The best way for children to learn and see things is through learned behavior from influential people such as teachers and PARENTS. It is you who is making it negative the teachers here embrace it in every single way possible.


Anonymous said...

Move along.

Nothing to see here.

puzzle650 said...

if you look for something to offend you, you will certainly find it. i, too, am a parent who chose to adopt. my daughter was 6 when she was abandoned, however i believe when we cry over little things like this we create in our children a "victim mind-set." the best defense against words is learning to ignore the ones we don't like and take the power away. find real injustice, not just something perceived, if you want to make a real difference in the world.

J.C. Scott said...

Really? Give me a break. What about the Vikings. Were they not a rather aggressive bunch? Or maybe the Raiders, Buccaneers..ARRR!!!

Bottom line is if you don't like the ORPHANS it's probably because you were on the very long list of those who have been handled by this group of ORPHANS! C-town does not have much...but we always had/have pride in our Orphans. I left Centralia after H.S. and this past weekend went home to watch our Orphans football team play in the playoffs. Those colors still look the same...even 19 years later. Go Orphans!

Anonymous said...

I am not from Centralia, but it is my home. I am proud of my children that are ORPHANS and I am proud to wear shirts that say MY CHILD IS AN ORPHAN!

Orphan nation is something many do not understand. Especially people from larger cities around the nation.

In our town of 10,000 people, one high school, and very few jobs there is not a whole lot to be proud of. The mines are closed, the railroad shops are closed, the factories are gone. ORPHAN NATION lives on, stronger and more proud then ever.

To the one who says "my kids are orphans and would be offended by the name." It seems to me you need to treat your children as your own and not as something you adopted to make you look better to the world. Next time adopt a dog, then complain about the Carbondale Terriers.

Anonymous said...

I am not from Centralia, but it is my home. I am proud of my children that are ORPHANS and I am proud to wear shirts that say MY CHILD IS AN ORPHAN!

Orphan nation is something many do not understand. Especially people from larger cities around the nation.

In our town of 10,000 people, one high school, and very few jobs there is not a whole lot to be proud of. The mines are closed, the railroad shops are closed, the factories are gone. ORPHAN NATION lives on, stronger and more proud then ever.

To the one who says "my kids are orphans and would be offended by the name." It seems to me you need to treat your children as your own and not as something you adopted to make you look better to the world. Next time adopt a dog, then complain about the Carbondale Terriers.

Anonymous said...

Orphan fan 4 life! Being a CHS orphan is an incredible Feeling. This school and this Mascot has taught generation after generation how to have pride in themselves, their town, and their school. How is that giving real life orphans a bad name? Shouldn't real life Orphans have pride in themselves? We are proud through the Good and the Bad and we support each other. Don't real life orphans support each other and try to keep each other strong and proud? If we are giving orphans a bad name by being a proud, supportive, and active community, maybe you have the wrong image of real life orphans?

Anonymous said...

I am proud to be an Orphan Class of 91. We are all a family who support each other. I don't know many people who continue to keep up with their hometown teams as we do through email, text, and Facebook. We all continue to be an Orphan Nation even though many of us have moved. We have not nor will we forget where we came from in which the strongest link is being an Orphan.

Chantal said...

While I disagree with your article, I do respect your right to speak (or type) freely. I grew up in Centralia and am Orphan Alumni. I have seen politically motivated High School name changes for reasons similar to what you mention. Did it make a difference? Nah, I don't think so. A few years ago, the high school in the city where I now live (Frisco, Texas) were forced to change their name. They were called the Frisco 'Coons. Apparently a small group of "concerned citizens" rallied for a name change because it was, in their opinion, a racial slur. At the time, Frisco was one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S. The elected officials succumbed to pressure and after 78 years of being the Frisco 'Coons they changed their name to the Frisco Raccoons. We also have a city near me called White Settlement. Should the city change their name? It might be considered racially offensive too. What about the Lewisville, Texas Fighting Farmers? Should we change this mascot as well? We surely don't want to offend those in agriculture. Down the road, we also have Mesquite, Texas Skeeter. Gosh, we sure don't want to offend the mosquito lovers either. You see, my point is that you can take offense to just about anything; 'coons, skeeters, orphans, etc but it's more about the battles you choose. It is certainly within your rights to request a name change. However, I think there are a lot more things in the world that "real orphans" find more offensive than a high school mascot. Perhaps you can ask your "real orphan" kids to list the top 5 things they find offensive in the world. I doubt you'll find the Centralia Orphans on any of their lists.

Anonymous said...

I get really fed up with those who are so easily offended by absolutely everything, and their tyrannical imposition of political correctness these days. I mean, the only thing that really offends me are the antics of people who are easily offended.  To the goofball who wrote this blog and those of you who agree with it, just put on your big girl panties and deal with it!

P.S. Speaking of orphans, I wonder if its considered politically incorrect to pour Self Raising Flour on orphan kids?

Anonymous said...

Something got my attention as I read all of the comments. Before you question, yes, I am an Orphan class of 1995. I saw the comment that said you wouldnt want your children to go to a school called the Orphans because it would remind them everyday of the hurt....So its ok to be called a dog, trojan, pirate, mustang etc. What if your kid had been bit by a dog would it remind them everyday of the hurt? I just really think that your help could be used elsewhere....I have lived in 2 other states and yes have explained how I was an Orphan...Not once did someone say "oh my that is hurtful and I am offended"

Anonymous said...

You say politically incorrect and offensive, we say unique and a conversation starter. I have met people on vacations on more than once that ask where I am from then respond with "Oh, so your an Orphan?!" Am I offended? Never. I think it is pretty cool that people from here to Florida know of the Orphan Legacy! Also, I would like to share that my grandmother is an Orphan both literally and figuratively as well as two adopted cousins. I've seen both sides and it is all harmless fun.

Perhaps you would prefer to attack a couple of our neighboring high school mascots the Carlyle Indians or the Freeburg Midgets (my personal favorite).

greta35 said...

I am an adoptive mother and a graduate of Centralia High School, so I feel qualified to speak on this topic. You are way off base. I moved away from Centralia 20 years ago, but have never met anyone that was offended or shocked by our team mascot, especially when you consider the intent which is completely benign. Our society has gotten so sensitive and overly concerned with political correctness that a small town is put in a position to defend a team mascot that has been around for more than 50 years and such a great source of pride. Try getting off of your high horse and check out the view from down here with the rest of us.

Bryan Green said...

I am a proud member of the Class of 88. I was taught that any word used in a manner that is derogatory can and will be offensive. However the key one and I repeat no one who has attended Centralia High School has ever taken exception to be referred to as an "Orphan".We hold the term "Orphan" with great pride in our hearts and souls.

Now let's get to the real issue. You saw an opportunity to create a buzz on your blog and you took it. Congrats....I went through your blogs to see the amount of response you are generating. Today you have had hundreds of hits and generated what will 96 comments. Job Well Done!!

You know what I really love about all this...You state that you and others are upset over the use of the term orphan,yet you take no action to try and correct what you feel is wrong. You sit on a computer and type a inflammatory blog. Did you include any contact information for your readers so that they may contact officials to voice there complaints properly? Did you interview anybody in Centralia? The answers to these questions is simply NO!!! You wrote a story that would inflame the readers and try to cast a town that takes great pride in it's traditions and school in a negative light.

AngAlex 3 said...

I just have to say I am not an actual " Orphan or Orphan Annie but I do however belong to Orphan Nation an Born an raised in Centrailia knowing our mascot name is well knowing our history because that's exactly what it is " History " maybe you should do a little more research before you blog about something you know nothing about ... I am also very proud to call my daughter Se'Arria Alexander a Orphan Annie she was on the golf team an is now on the Basketball team an I couldn't be more PROUD To call her an ORPHAN ANNIE ..... signed Angie Alexander

Salem Supporter for the ORPHAN said...


I am just so curious as to how you found this picture which trigger your rage. It seems as if you were just looking for a battle and this just popped up on your radar. In case you haven't notice, you are in Texas. According to my calculations, that is about a 12-14 hour drive, and at least a 2 hour flight, if not longer. This school, mascot, and town in no way directly affects your or your life. And for someone so concerned with the term "orphan", please stop calling your children that. I'm am most certain that they would NOT appreciate that.

Anonymous said...

Melinda's Blog is stupid. Oh wait I just offended idiots everywhere. Damn.

malinda said...

Look, no one doubts your sincerity. You think orphans are great. You think Orphans are the best. You don't see how anyone could see orphans any differently than the way that you see orphans. You've had 100 years of seeing orphans as the best thing since sliced bread.

It's like all those folks in the South who think Robert E. Lee is great, the best thing since sliced bread. They've had almost 200 years of being told Robert E. Lee is wonderful.

But, ya know, African-Americans don't have such warm and fuzzy feelings about Robert E. Lee. They may not like, therefore, to have Robert E. Lee as the school's mascot. Even though EVERYONE else thinks it's great. Even though EVERYONE else doesn't mean anything by it.

Outside of Centralia, being called an orphan is not a wonderful, warm & fuzzy thing. It means, in the rest of the world, that you are an object of pity, or you are unloved and unloveable, or that you are damaged in some way, if not completely pathological (think Esther from the movie "Orphan.")

Go to Google Images and search for images of orphans? What do you find? Is that how you think of orphans? Can you see that that is the way the rest of the world thinks of orphans?

Anonymous said...

Salem Wildcat class of '89. We were/are one of the two main rivals of the Centralia Orphans for decades. So having said that;

There is no offense meant or conveyed with CHS's use of the term "Orphan" as their mascot. If it were meant to be offensive, wouldn't the mascot be a scruffy dirty child? But its not. It is a basketball player which is based off an actual orphan, who was an Orphan.

And the reason there is so much pride in the Orphan Nation is because their sports teams are known to never give up and fight till the very last second. We hated playing them in both basketball and football. Not because of the rivalry. But because we knew that for the next 4+ quarters, we would have to give our all whether we were winning or behind, because CHS Orphans never give up and always fight to the last buzzer. They always brought their A-game and made us play better because of that.

So you can spout how its offensive, but that comment is ignorant. They never give up hope, never lose sight of what is important, stay positive when things are at their worst, and above all strive to be the best. Which is a good example for "real" orphans to follow.

ctownmom said...

I just heard about the controversy of Centralia Orphans & Centralia Orphan Annies. First of all, Malinda, why do you feel it's up to you to pass judgement on other people. I would refer to you as Ms, Miss, or Mrs, but you choose not to issue your last name. That's your right. Now to the subject at hand. Orphans & Orphan Annies was never chosen to degrade anyone. It was a mascot to show solidarity of our community & surrounding area. We are Orphan Nation. We accept into our family anyone that would like to be a part of our family. Yes, you have legally adopted orphans. And, I commend you & your family. But, please don't pass judgement on our motives. We are not some large city, trying to act as if we are better than the rest, we are a small, midwesten town. We are hardworking people trying to get by. We LOVE our Orphans & Annies. Do NOT ever think we don't, or you will have a fight on your hands. Your family is not a family of blood relatives, you should understand ours isn't either. Our Orphan & Annies are a family of love. Please don't knock us, as we will defend our family forever. Thanks you for allowing me to give my points of view.

Anonymous said...

In regard to your last post, you were the one who voiced your disdain to the use of The Orphans as a team name and then invited comments and even petition for a name change. How quickly you became the victim when proud Orphans defend themselves against your blind, uneducated comments on the history of the CHS Orphans. How horrible we must be to be proud of our school and small town. Oh, and notice no one is interested in your petition? Sounds like an out of work lawyer looking to try and make a name for herself. You would do better to petition the Washington Redskins rather than a small town school.

Steve L. said...


You say that your children are "real actual orphans". However, you follow that with this quote,

"Outside of Centralia, being called an orphan is not a wonderful, warm & fuzzy thing. It means, in the rest of the world, that you are an object of pity, or you are unloved and unloveable, or that you are damaged in some way, if not completely pathological (think Esther from the movie "Orphan.")".

Perhaps it is your own view and definition of orphan that is offensive. Maybe it is you who has the negative impression of the word orphan. I myself grew up an Orphan and see no problem with the label. It is after all the term for a parent less child. This is where I will disagree that this is an offensive name of that of the level of Redskins, Indians etc... (I still do not find these offensive but we can debate that another time) The word orphan is a commonly used adjective. It is also an acceptable adjective. Whereas, to call a "native American" a redskin would be inappropriate. Just because the word is synonymous with a reject of society for you does not mean the entire world joins you in your view point. In fact, there have been many famous orphans (parent less children) who have gone on to live successful and productive lives. Bertrand Russell is one that comes to mind first.

Perhaps we should change our name to the Centralia Wards of State. Yes I do not dispute that the majority of orphans lives are hell. I have been lucky enough to have parents during my up bringing but on the same token the life of a Haitian with both parents is somewhere near the magnitude of infinity worse then an orphan in the States. But yet we are not offended by the adjective Haitian.

So I must concede to you that you find the word orphan offensive but this is not a merely subjective test. Orphan is an adjective, it does not hold racial or ethical connotation (I'm pretty sure that's where the bar of acceptability is on mascot team names now days). Also if I were to accept your argument that orphan denotes status or class then the name would be no different then the San Benito Hay Balers, or the Farmerville Fighting Farmers. There are many mascot names the denote class or institutional status. While these mostly focus on occupation, it is still no different from your accepted definition of defining class.

So while orphan remains a valid, commonly used adjective, and publicly accepted term to describe those with out parents then I am sorry your argument has no merit. I see this as a Cub fan wanting to remove the name "World Series" because it is offensive to them.

Braxton87 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chelsea said...

Im proud to be an ORPHAN, Class of 2006...this is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard...obviously the author of this blog is not from Centralia...we take so much pride in our mascot that changing the name would be a travesty...Talk about changing our namesake offends ME...GO ORPHANS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

The picture that you have posted, of very young children, for all of the internet world to see…..did you happen to consider if their Parents, either birth or adoptive parents, might find that OFFENSIVE?
Thanks so much for being SO worried about other’s children that you’ve posted their pictures as well as given weirdoes everywhere the name of the small city in which they live. Did you post your kids pictures along with an address for all to see?
Now there’s somebody that’s only here to protect children. Such a Great Move Malinda. I Hope the parents of those “Centralia Orphans” in your picture come after you legally.

Stile said...

CHS grad of 2008 here. I find it absolutely hilarious that you compare calling someone an orphan to calling someone a racial slur. Basically, you're saying being called an orphan is the same thing as being called the "n" word. You're saying real orphans should be ashamed of the fact that they're orphans. In Centralia, there is nothing shameful about being an Orphan. There is pride in being both an Orphan, and an orphan who is able to overcome the obstacles in his or her life.

Anonymous said...

As a VERY proud 2005 Centralia High School graduate (go Orphans!) supporter of freedom of speech, generating opinions and conversation, and most importantly, believer in the fact and hope that every child should have and deserves a warm, loving home.

As a person who does not easily take offense to differing opinions or ideas that "stir the pot" if you will, I have tried to understand your side of the situation. I can see to a certain extent how our harmless nickname can seem so harmful to a person unfamiliar with the pride, support, hope and pure togetherness a small town feels when they join forces on a Friday night and cheer "we are the Orphans".

Our mascot is not a malicious one. It's no more dangerous than an "Indian", a "boilermaker", or a "Redskin". It's a name of a football team that volunteers at the Shriners Hospital, a basketball team that holds camps for young kids in the area. Our little town mascot might bother you, ma'am, and I respect your opinion. My thought, however, is rather than taking something (sometimes the ONLY thing) positive a town has to celebrate and twisting and turning it into something it's not in order to fit the mold of a personal vendetta, consider the amount of energy that could have been put towards something positive and constructive.

I would invite you to come to our town, but I can see that
offer has been extended and quickly rejected. As a granddaughter, daughter, sister, cousin and friend to many "Orphans" (both in the sense that you consider them and in the celebratory, spirited way that we do), I feel that changing the name to something other than what it is will do two things: 1. Not change the underlying problem of children needing homes and families and 2.Take something away from a town who considers the Orphan spirit and pride the glue that holds the town together.
I don't see the positive in either of those options...
Instead of sitting on here ranting, raving and disagreeing..I hope everyone goes out and does something nice for a kiddo who deserves it.
Bailey Shafer
Centralia, IL native and proud supporter of our hometown!

Kelsie said...

I am from Centralia and it is not offensive. It means much more. Its our school spirit. I am extremely proud to have been an orphan annie where the entire community is in the "orphanage" cheering you on. Obviously anyone who doesn't like the mascot name has never experienced such a thing.. I feel sorry for them

Phil Blasdel said...

As a Centralia Orphan (1975)and Kaskaskia College Blue Devil (1977) Alum (both in Centralia), I have to say that the Kaskaskia College Mascot it a whole realm more offensive than CHS's. In a world where there are important issues to discuss, why dwell on this one? As it has been said, this mascot represents tolerance for everyone. It is symbolic of the fact that Orphans can be champions. If you can really make the argument that this is a bad image for orphans, go ahead. However, I fear you will encounter difficulty convincing a wide-spread audience of this, including other orphans.

I would suggest you spend the time and effort you are spending here to nurture the orphans in your life. It simply doesn't make sense to tell them that it is OK to buy into the stigma you seem to want them to. Shame on you for making them feel like it is bad to be an orphan.

My family heritage is from the Ohio River bottoms. I am from "river rat" stock. My grandfather started life by growing broom corn with his father and selling brooms in the towns along the river. His family caught carp from the river and sold them to put food (and probably alcohol) on the table. My great grandfather's house was at the confluence of the Ohio and a man-made "river" called The Big Ditch, on a road called Tick Ridge. Eventually his house fell into the erosion of The Big Ditch. He was an anti-social atheist who seldom wore shoes.

I can either let all of that defeat me or I can be proud that I started there and became something. I absolutely do not care if someone wants to call their sports team The River Rats.

I suppose Centralia cound find a mascot that is less offensive. Maybe the Conductors, since it is a railroad town. No, that would be disparaging to railroaders. How about The Candy Bars as Centralia was home to Hollywood Candy Compamy, makers of Payday and Zero candy bars. Oops, can't because us diabetics will be upset. I know, Zeros..... uh oh, this would be offensive to losers.

Sorry, I cannot think of a mascot that isn't offensive to someone.

T.D. said...

Orphan Nation is very proud. It is a privledge to play for any Orphan athletics. The name is unique and everywhere we go people know just exactly who the Orphans are. Anybody could be a tiger, wildcat, ram, eagle or knight. But being an Orphan is only for those special few that call C-Town home.

Anonymous said...

At least our mascot doesn't get lost in the sea of Wildcats, Ponies, Vandals, or whatever else common school names there are. I bet once a person hears of the CHS Orphans/Annies, they will always remember us!

Btw, those are my friends' kids in the pic and my daughter was holding the "S" which was cut off. Maybe make sure you clear it will their parents before you go posting such photos.

Centralia High School Class of 1994

KJN said...

I respect your right to voice an opinion on our mascot. However, you lose us when you say the word orphan is derogatory and insensitive then turn around and use that same word to describe your sweet child. Either it's negative or it isn't. I'm not following your logic. And please comment on those posts from CHS graduates who were in fact without parents who wear the Orphan label with pride.

On a more positive note, keep up the good work with your blog. Children in need appreciate strong advocates like yourself.
And it is wonderful to see Centralians reminding each other of our heritage as a group of determined individuals who stand together despite our differences! Makes me proud to be an Orphan.

malinda said...

FYI, the photo I posted here was ALREADY on the internet, and ALREADY told everyone where the kids lived, since it was on the Centralia High School website. Should the parents complain about that?

Nor did I go looking for the Centralia Orphans. Someone from YOUR area contacted me about it. You know, one of those EVERYONE from your neck of the woods who could't possibly consider the name offensive? I wouldn't even know how to find the Centralia Orphans by looking! I wouldn't have even known to look if I hadn't been told about it.

From my perspective, ya'll decided to invite yourself to my blog, insult me, threaten me, and call me names. Sorry if those arguments haven't somehow magically changed my mind. It doesn't convince me that, as a group, the CHS folks would never want to give offense!

If it makes you feel better to vent about it, fine. I'm always happy to hear contrary opinions. But I'm looking for reasoned arguments, not name-calling. Attributing evil motives to me isn't likely to be very persuasive, now is it?

And for those who want to rail about how I'm making a big deal about nothing, ask yourself why you're still reading and posting here? Who is stirring the pot? Who is desperately looking for something to be offended by?

All I can say is, pot, meet kettle.

SteveM said...

A blog written by a LAWYER. Explains a lot to me. Hopefully she's not licensed to practice law in Illinois! I can just see a lawsuit banning the use of the name "Orphan" as a school mascot.

Patrick Erickson said...

Not from CHS or the town, but have lived in Southern Illinois the past 6 years and one of my best friends is an Orphan as are several other acquaintances. I find them all to be well-balanced, polite, friendly, and down-to-earth people.

First off, for being a self-proclaimed lawyer your research is incredibly poor. You cite wikipedia, something I'm pretty sure every teacher/professor I've had since the site existed told me not to cite. If you really want to prove your point, find the original articles about the names origin. They are out there. Do some real research.

Secondly, the rest of your article is nothing more than your own meandering, personal opinion. It has no more value than my opinion, a CHS graduate, or any other average Joe. Frankly, your opinion means absolutely nothing in this world. Maybe next time go and find some people that are offended by this. Find organizations that are trying to do something about it. But you won't. Because its a non-issue.

Allow me to present research that is more in depth than anything you posted. As of the time of this post there are 116 comments posted (mine included). 8 are your own comments. 10 are comments against the use of Orphan as a mascot/nickname (some of which, per the similarity in language and the timing in the posts, I'd hazard an educated guess that you posted yourself). That leaves a resounding 98 that are for and clearly for. 85%. Landslide.

You have heard from alums., both those still in Centralia and those who have moved away; you have heard from actual orphans themselves, some CHS grads, others not, who take absolutely no offense to the nickname; you've heard from outsiders with no connection or some with a vague connection, such as myself, who take no offense. All of this points decisively that the vast, vast majority do not care.

I could echo what all the Orphan alums have said about it being a town tradition and what the nickname really means, but they have already done so, and with so much better understanding than I ever could. See even as someone with a somewhat decent connection to the town and tradition I don't feel it's my place to judge another community. You who have no connection at all, have no basis at all.

So congratulations on writing a thoroughly useless, poorly researched, and biased article. I hope you didn't keep yourself up too late on wiki.

If you really want to do some good for Orphans, transfer the time you spent writing this to helping out at a children's home or fund raising for orphans.

GO ORPHANS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Someone referred the blog writer to the CHS Orphans. Must have known she had nothing better to do with her time than belittle this tight-knit community. I am feeling very sorry for Malinda's "orphans". Maybe she should find a better caregiver for them, as she deemed them parentless herself.

Malinda, you obviously are up for a fight. You have come to the wrong place for that. Spend your energy making your orphans feel like they have parents. I have a feeling they could use your attention, as we have had enough.

Brad R. said...

Surprising a lawyer wrote this.....hmmmmm...can u say she's trying to create a lawsuit so she can jump on board as legal counsel.....go chase an ambulance....all the racist and sexist things going on and her brilliant mind chooses us the Orphans....bring it on Texas....everything truly is bigger in Texas including Jackasses!

Anonymous said...


Malinda you may want to do some research on your post on October 31,2011 5:56 PM. Before you start throwing random things into an arguement and making yourself look stupid you may want to know some research first. Because there is a High School in the inner City of Jacksonville, Florida that is called Robert E. Lee High School (Duval County). You should try and argue that point with the people in the South.

For the Lawyer who wrote this article: This is what's wrong with our society today, just do your JOB!!! You actually are probably doing this because you want to be the lawyer who wants to fight this case, which you will lose! Also you people (the lawyer) who have nothing better to do, that is why The University of ILLINOIS can't have the CHIEF TRIBAL DANCE.
So Go ORPHANS. O.R.P.H.A.N.S Orphans Orphans!!!!

Tammy Landes said...

Centralia used to be the home of an orphanage, which is now a children's home. Many orphans from Centralia have attended the school, and even played on the team. If they have no problem with the name of the team, why should anyone else make a big deal of it? Some of these kids are VERY outspoken, so I'm sure if there was an issue, the school would have heard of it. Apparently, there's no problem.
Tammy Landes, BSW

Mrs.Sanders said...

I think that this is the most RIDICULOUS article I have ever seen....I am a graduate of Centralia and a PROUD Centralia Orphan Annie, and find no offense in the name at all!!!! If you find it so offensive, maybe you should stop writing about our schools name and write about something that really matters, like, how to save the real children in America, that have no parents "orphans"...I think its really immature that anyone would even dwell on the name of our school and try to make it such a big deal....grow up people....find something more important to worry about....WOOT WOOT, ORPHAN NATION :)

Bailey Shafer said...

Pot, meet kettle? Orphan Nation.

DJODAY said...

I'm not exactly sure who you are or in what world this blog even exists. Of course it found its way to the facebook feeds of many an Orphan. As I read through the author's comments and then some of the various reactions, all I can think is "really?" If you are truly an attorney, aren't there some higher causes you could devote your billable time to? Rich tradition and legacy is the very core of high school culture. This culture, the traditions, the nickname, and the mascot belong solely to those who developed it and to those who preserved it throughout the years. You are not a part of the Centralia culture. You are not an invited advocate. So, kindly butt out. Donna Class of 77

Lisa said...

I am an adoptee, and all 4 of my children will graduate as CHS Orphans. Do you rally your neighbors to join you in trying to take down the one neighbor whose choice in house color offends you? That is basically what you are doing here, and you are clueless as to the proud heritage that goes along with our mascot's name. As a lawyer, I thought you surely would have dedicated more time to adequate research before beginning your opening statements/accusations. I suggest you do the right thing and use an appology for your closing staement in this debate. Go stir trouble elsewhere, and GO ORPHANS!!!!!

Anonymous said...

When the Centralia Orphans were named "The Most Winningest Team in the Nation" in 1983 not one person, that I know of, complained about our team's name. Our Orphans made national news and complaints about our name. Why now?! Sounds like the author is bored and looking for something to fight/complain about.
And, I find our name to be quite symbolic. High school is a time of uncertainty and insecurity. Many find themselves feeling overwhelmed and alone, having come from different jr. high schools, and finding they have no friends, no support, and in a sense, orphaned. Joining, and/or cheering on a team, brings about belonging and helps build friendships and bonds that will last throughout high school and possibly a lifetime. So, even though one may feel "orphaned" at times, our team brings people together like a big family! Our town rallies behind the Orphans and their Annies!! I graduated in 1984 and still follow our teams. There's no better headline than "The Orphans Win!"

Sheri George-Miles class of '07! And proud! said...

I am a very proud graduate of CHS Class of '07! It's very apparent that this lady has no idea what she is talking about when it comes to our home town! She has no idea of the historical value of our teams name. Nor does she care to figure it out. It seems she just has this to stir the pot. She says someone from our hometown informed her of our teams name? What really most likely happened is one day she was most likely typed "Orphan" into the google search box and saw our school website. There is alot more going on in this world that is more important than trying to get a school that has a team name that she does not agree with to change it! Our team name is part of our long history! And you can't change history! So lets find something better to attack!

Anonymous said...

Oh My Goodness people stop already. Everyone has their own opinions on things. My mother was an actual "orphan" and attended CHS and did not find it offensive at all, I am a CHS graduate and it never crossed my mind as being offensive, but on the other hand my step dad thinks it is kind of offensive. So it is just a matter of opinion, which everyone has a right to. This is not a thing to be fighting over.

Anonymous said...

seriously! I am proud of my Orphan, who is on the football team. I am not originally from Centralia but LOVE our mascot . . . who needs another Eagles, Rams, Cardinals etc. It has a heritage, and we are proud of it. This is just plain silly!

lhenderson said...

As an adoptee, I am not offended by this. Never have been, never will. I feel that people are looking for a fight all the time now a days, and this is just an example. I grew up near Centralia, and never knew a person upset by the name.

Anonymous said...

Melissa Foraker-Class of '89

We are fiercely proud of our name, our heritage, and the great athletic programs at our school. Your letters will fall on deaf ears (is that offensive to the hearing impared), your viewpoint is short-sided (sorry to those suffering with eye afflictions), and quite frankly, we don't give a damn (Conservatives beware my dirty mouth).

Anonymous said...

apparently we should all be the gray blobs of nothing sense every name out there can be offensive to one person or another.. i think adoption talk could be considered offensive.. it stupid but yet i could say i find it offensive.. this is what is wrong with america.. whiny ppl who have to ruin it for everyone.. thanks.. i am a proud orphan. it isnt to be cool. do your research.. see where the name came from and how this town embraced it.. come to a game and see us cheer.. see how happy our orphans make this town. get over yourself.. find something to really get pissed about.. like welfare fraud.. sex trafficing.. illegal drugs.. THE N WORD!! did you really just go and look up the word to find something to complain about.. we are a small town.. we pride in our name.. i am offended by your website ripping on my team.. should i post a whole blog about it how i am such a whiny baby.. god get over yourself.. C TOWN... LETS HERE IT FOR THE ORPHANS.. dumbass..

Sierra M said...

I'm not from Centralia, I'm actually from their rival town, Salem and this is crazy. As a Christian I could get ticked about all the schools that are Devils and try to protest them to change but it's just a mascot. And what the writer of this blog said about her children being Orphans and them going to the school and being reminded, I wonder how they feel about you calling them Orphans on the internet, isnt it kinda the same thing. I think people care too much about the little things in life.

Anonymous said...

I find it sad that a woman with your education and family situation chooses to view this word, "orphans", in such a bad light. You could use this opportunity to open your mind and change your negativity into some of the "Orphan Nation" positivity. Instead of teaching them to have the "victim" mindset, why not show them the school that chose to be represented by this mascot because of the all the wonderful things we have all mentioned?
In a previous post of yours, you said

"Things can be offensive to the listener EVEN WHEN the speaker doesn't mean to offend.

The question is, what are you, as a speaker, going to do about it when you learn you've been offensive?"

You defended yourself regarding the photo you used by stating you found it on the CHS website. Regardless of how you acquired the photo, it is DEEPLY offensive for you to use such a picture. So what, as a speaker, will you be doing about it? Practice what you preach....please remove this photo. How would you like it if someone used the photo of your children in a blog that offended you.

Anonymous said...

I was not raised an Orphan but all 3 of my kids and husband went to school at CHS and we are all Orphans now. I am a teacher that teaches kids that have been taken away from their parents because their parents did drugs, sexually, emotionally and physically abused them in some form. I do not call them Orphans, I call them LUCKY that they are out of that environment and when I wear my Orphan shirt to school they all want one because even they know the strong history that the Orphan name has in Centralia. Whoever started this needs to get a life. I hope you never come to our town cause when you mess with one Orphan,you are messing with us ALL! UNITED OR FAN NATION!

Unknown said...

I am an Orphan Class of 1990 wasn't a big sports fan, but always proud to be an Orphan. I also have friends who now have adopted "true" as you would put it orphans and they are huge sports fans and HUGE Orphan fans. I don't think going to Orphan games or to CHS should make a child think of their past, that to me seems your job to make your child feel good about themselves.

Anonymous said...

I am a proud graduate of CHS class of 2008. I would like to take a minute to thank you for reassuring everyone who reads this article that either was or currently is an ORPHAN that there is great ignorance in this world and people are quick to judge without doing research, or seeing firsthand what they are talking about. As many people have already told you, you have no idea what you are talking about. The name on the front of our athlete jerseys is much more than a name to most all that wear it. It is a source of great pride to get to "play for the name on the front (ORPHANS) rather than the name on the back" which we encourage all athletes to do from a young age. I believe that you would be hard pressed to find more than a small hand full of people who have graduated from Centralia High School to jump on your bandwagon in support of a name change. "Once an ORPHAN always an ORFAN" and I hope that remains.


Tyson Coffey

Anonymous said...

If she's going to complain about the Orphan' she also on a soapbox against the Trojan's? I mean really...that's more offensive! Let's name our school mascot after a bunch of CONDOMS!!!!

gina said...

You're idiot as an orphan Annie who holds two school records for.the school I'm proud to be an orphan Annie u really must have no life I'm sure you could find something to do with your town and o don't need to write this without using my name im Gina and will always thnk people are idiots.

Anonymous said...

Megan... class of 02... we will always be orphans.... this post is stupid and should be deleted we wudnt go to sumone elses home town and talk shit bout ur mascot name... this is rude and disrespectful....

Anonymous said...

With all due respect if you're going to say mean things to someone on the internet, at least use proper grammar.

Anonymous said...

i find it interesting that the school had to get permission to use the photo, but you copy and paste it to your blog . . . already checked this out . . . hmmm

Anonymous said...

maybe we should change our name to the "Lawyers" - oh no forgot, everyone finds that offensive :)

annao said... there's a link to look at with plenty of offensive names write a blog for the criminals and cut throat trouts I would be highly pissed for my child to be called such a thing....right?

leslie said...

Matilda, there have been so many rational counter arguments to your opinion posted here. You're choosing to ignore them. We'll have to agree to disagree. I have never considered the term orphan to be derogatory. You do and yet call your children orphans.

Anonymous said...

Being an orphan isn’t a handicap!! I was and am an “orphan” who was raised in the children’s home a few blocks from the high school, for most of my formative years, and I also had the distinct pleasure of actually attending CHS in the 80’s, and I was NEVER offended by the name. In fact, it’s the one place I felt a sense of pride and acceptance and where I actually did NOT feel like an orphan!! It wasn’t cool to be an orphan back then, and probably still isn’t for most kids today, but I never received anything but friendship and a sense of team spirit from my fellow students and teammates. My children are all familiar with my family history, and they’re all familiar with my school moniker, and I’ve had very open and frank discussions with them about growing up without parents, and not once did it ever occur to them or to me to bring up the fact that I was a Centralia Orphan. Nor was I ever made to feel like I needed to explain it. It just never occurred to any of us to feel offended. Not once.

Saying that it’s offensive to orphans is asinine, to say the least. Just because you think it *should be* offensive doesn’t mean it is. Your blog about this was meant to do nothing more than stir the pot and stir up angry feelings and create a squirrel cage. And to the person who said to STFU to the gentleman discussing the downturn in economy, the tragedies, and hardships…YOU have NO idea what you’re saying. That little town has been through more hard times than many, throughout its history, and it would be pointless to sit here and list them all because you clearly don’t care. You just came here for the argument, along with many others.

If we really want to be politically correct, because for some odd reason, the word “orphan” does have a negative connotation for some, when discussing parentless children, do we then change ALL names referring to any living object? As someone else suggested, perhaps all teams should change and become shapes and/or colors. What about the Devils and the Trojans and should we even go so far as to say using an animal’s name may offend an animal? Yes, that really is how ignorant your blog post seems to me. If you weren’t an orphan and you’re commenting on this blog about how offensive it is to orphans, find another blog to comment about!

Perhaps it may be offensive to some parentless children, ones that weren’t as fortunate as myself, to have been in a caring environment at the children’s home, as well as at SCHOOL, but to those people I would say to grow beyond your past and visit our fine school and see the wonderful employees and students and teams and fans because you will truly be welcomed as an ORFAN!

Anonymous said...

Nichol - CHS Class of '05

I graduated an Orphan, but never saw myself as part of "Orphan Nation". I'm not a lower-case-o orphan, but I'm also not part of the rabid C-Town Hoop Ball horde. Dissidents do exist. We do go through CHS, too timid and afraid of the united front of Centralia sports fans you see here to stand up for ourselves on really any minority causes.

And then we move away, put all that behind us, and stop subscribing to the backwoods little newspaper that incites the kinds of unreasoned, "get off our lawn" arguments you see here. If it weren’t for distant Facebook acquaintances, I would have no idea this controversy existed. There's not a whole lot happening in Centralia, so this quickly becomes a big news story, something for people to rally around, something threatening to a way of life centered around a crumbling gymnasium, and your blog is assaulted with five thousand posts, mostly anonymous, that all say the same thing, because that is what works for everyone 90% of the time - speaking in unison to make their many tiny voices big and intimidating (if you can’t be right, at least be the loudest). Because there are a lot of them. Because they don't stand alone. Because, at their current station in life, they are not orphans.

Centralia is not a perfect, picturesque Midwestern dream. It has its charms, sure, but you almost have to be raised there to see them.

I, personally, don’t find the mascot offensive. In conversation with non-Centralians, I find that admitting I grew up an Orphan sums up my small town upbringing more concisely than anything else I could think to say. The name itself conjures a thousand images in my mind much akin to the can of rattlesnakes you see spilling out before you. You will find no reasoning here, only empty threats and backwoods drama.

It’s been briefly addressed, but it should again be stated that when other C-Towners speak of hardship, they’ve likely known their share. In addition to the mining disaster, the town has borne witness to a two decade long recession, partially thanks to the trickle down nature of Illinois’ state budget distribution. Factory upon factory has shut down as meth house upon meth house has cropped up. One of the few positive things happening for these people is a miraculous winning Orphans football season, so of course they’re jumping to defend a perceived attack on that.

The name isn’t just a name – it’s an attitude and a way of life that you really would have to spend time around to understand. It’s not just about changing out a problematic word. It’s about changing entire ideologies. And in Centralia, positive change never happens fast.

Anonymous said...


I know you are trying to make a difference for your kids you have adopted, so this is no waste of time to you. As you have commented above you can put any twist on a word you want and that it doesn't mid it any less demeaning to others. Well Orphans is not a demeaning name, it is simply a fact of life, whether current or past. Centralia Orphans have made this fact of life very positive and inspiring, they should be commended not reprimanded. I do apologize if any offense was taken, but honestly I believe visiting Centralia would shed light on the perspective we all share, one of pride, community, endurance, and love for our mascot. My moms mother died when my mom was a little girl, her dad wasn't active in her life she moved from home to home never adopted... she is a proud Centralia Orphan a place of togetherness. Please shareshare with your children that even the term Orphan can be a reminder of something painful, it can also be inspiring. I do sincerely hope you consider teaching and even changing your perspective on the word Orphan. I know you said above its users who should change but I feel we have taken a very positive understanding of the word.

Sara said...

I am a 1994 graduate of CHS, and proud of being Orphan alumni. I now live in the neighboring rival town of Salem where my children attend high school. I grew up and went to school with kids that were in the true sense of being orphans either by losing their parents or by being given up by them to be put in the system.
I have seen all the posts you have received and yes Centralia is loud and proud of their "Orphans", as they should be. In some of the bleakest hours, they have prevailed with great pride.

I'm sorry that you do not like the mascot that they have, maybe it does offend you. But honestly how does that really concern you and your life? And I am sure there are people out there that may be offended by something about you or that you do, some may not even like your name. Your name alone may bring great sorrow to someone who has been wronged by someone else with the same name as you! Its this little thing called life, not everything is going to make everybody happy.

My own children lost their father this year, so should I be offended anytime I hear or see anything that has to do with wanting information about their father, or someone asking me or my children about their father? No, because its life, and yes sometimes it is brutally painful, but we can not change everything to please everybody. Our past is what defines us into the people we become.

There are so many more things that you should be placing your effort into rather than a school mascot. Because really isnt this really supposed to be a topic about adoption since the site is Adoption Talk?????? Adoption and mascot, really don't think they go hand in hand, 2 completely different topics, way off.

But since you have decided to pick this topic of interest, lets just further your knowledge of just one amazing things this school "The Orphans" participates in.

For the past 59 years, at the beginning of every football season, we have a game between the rivals of Centralia and Salem. This game is called the Shrine Game. The purpose of this game is to raise money for the Shriner's Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri. All money that is collected from entrance fees, concessions, and raffles is then all given to the hospital.
Even better yet, each school loads up their football team, and travels over to the hospital where the players spend the entire day with kids that are patients in the hospital. The children in the hospital absolutely love the visits they get from each team and wait for this day every year.

Now back to the topic on hand, do movies about orphans offend you? Does the movie "Annie" offend you, because we all know that in real life not many adoptions really happen to turn out that way. What about the movie "Orphan", now that one could bring up a whole other topic.
I think it is great that you have adopted children, but they should no longer be classified as orphans anymore, they are now part of your family. The word orphan should not even be brought up around them, as it may bring up painful memories, and distance them from becoming part of your family.

I have friends and many family members who have adopted and never have I ever heard any of them mention that the children they adopted were orphans in the first place. It is unfortunate that so many children have to endure that lifestyle, but yet as we all know many children have parents that they are living with and the child is still raising themselves and even siblings, and they dont get any word that classifies them.

All in all this topic should have never been started, you really should have put your time and energy into educating others about adoption, and left the word ORPHAN (in any sense) out of it completely.

jeron said...

From One Orphan Lawyer to another Lawyer. The first thing we learn in law school is never ask a question you don't know the answer to. I believe that applies to passing judgment about something you have no idea about.

Centralia is a dying town. What once was a flourishing city of coal mines and factories is now many unemployed people struggling to pay their rent. I do divorce law and our divorce rate is 73 percent. I can promise you, the majority of these divorces occur because of a breakdown based on financial strife.

What we do have, and what makes this one of the tightest, proudest, "family towns" is a basketball team that brings people out in 20 degree weather and three foot of snow. Our town of 12000 got 2nd in state last year placing against the finest Chicago had to offer.. A football team that hadn't won a game in 10 years, but consistently filled the stands.

That is what Orphan stands for. Not having everything, many times nothing, handed to them. While they may not have money or the perfect family, they have pride and fans who will never waver or go away.

I came back to this town 7 years ago after leaving at 17 promising I would never be back. What used to drive me crazy is what I now promise to instill in my sons.

So, being a lawyer, you can clearly argue either side, just depends on the Client and the facts you are given. But next time, have your facts straight first.

Anonymous said...

To the writer of this article and everyone out there who feels the same..this article angers me. The name Orphans I just a name. No matter where u go or what u do someone will always be offended. U can't go around being like should we name them orphans or will some lawyer with nothing better to do write about how it offends them. I think maybe u should write about adoption stuff than something so silly and not worth writing about.

Anonymous said...

I should ask......why you felt the need to advertise that you are a really didn't help your argument. It only shows that even smart people can be really stupid. You really should stop spouting at the mouth and realize that the name, as you pointed out, was adapted in the 1900s. Guess we should have stuck to the good old days before any crazy weirdo with an opinion could remark about things she knows nothing will NEVER find a school with more heart and pride in its students and history! You could only wish your " orphan" children would have the chance to be a real Orphan! Go Orphans and Orphan Annies......we love you no matter what this crazy chick rambles on about!

malinda said...

Jeron, as one lawyer to another, surely you are aware of the requirement of RELEVANT facts. I will gladly stipulae to every fact you recite -- and it changes nothing.

My argument is not that there is anything wrong with the town of Centralia or its residents. Its history, current economic problems, passion for their sports teams, unity and community in all things, is simply not a justification for having an offensive mascot.

All of that is simply the familiar argument that if I didn't mean to offend anyone, I get a pass. That reasoning allows folks to wander through life, deliberately unaware of the offensiveness of their conduct, and always getting a pass.

Is that a value that Centralia stands for? From what you and others describe, I wouldn't think so.

Pjaydl said...

Hun youre simply outnumbered. Give it a rest. A large group of people ( both from ctown and other places) ie.. A jury has decided against you. The problem Im having now is your condecending attitude. Small town doesnt mean stupid or small minded. You have an opinion fine. Ours is of another mind. People tend to fear what they dont understand so naturally they deem it bad. However in the grand scheme of things, and in spite of youre biased view, you are nobody. We are a united front and youre a speedbump. So congrats on your 15 minutes of fame. Before long we will just step over you and happily so, and focus on and cheer on our boys and girls when basketball season starts.WE ARE THE ORPHANS, THE MIGHTY MIGHTY ORPHANS!

Anonymous said...

Ill be the one to say it. im going to make this as easy to read and as clear as possible for you. >>>>WE DON"T CARE IF OUR SCHOOL MASCOT OFFENDS YOU. NOT EVERYTHING REVOLVES AROUND WHAT YOU LIKE OR DISLIKE.<<<< Clear enough for you?

malinda said...

If you don't care what my opinion is, why are you still here trying to talk me out of it?!

Patrick Erickson said...

The people of Centralia (and for that matter about 98% of human beings) don't have a problem with the nickname.

It is only you who have some innate thought that whatever you think must be true and that despite hundreds of other people telling you how they see it and how it is that you are still right.

You don't speak for orphans. You don't speak for the majority. You don't even speak for a large minority. You are pretty much speaking only for yourself.

You have been given testament from hundreds of people, Orphans, 'true' orphans, and outsiders. Yet you have ignored many dozens of rationale, well-thought-out arguments simply because they are contradictory to your own personal beliefs. Well over 90% have voiced against you. Give it up. You are not going to win this, nor will you ever.

We live in a democratic state where the majority gets to decide. It is clear that they have decided. The name is not offensive. The end. Or in terms you might understand- The jury has its verdict and its not guilty after a mere five minutes of deliberation.

Patrick Erickson

Anonymous said...

The orphans are a proud town the team evolved form some orphans who had nothing and came from nothing but in their own and as a team they evolved in to one huge family which is exactly what Centralia is one big family of people who care for eacother and show one another respect. The only thing this name stands for is when you become a Centralia Orphan you become part of a family who is there to help you succeed and be everything you dream to be we are not offensive and only close minded people would take it that way we have been The CENTRALIA ORPHANS for long before your time we took a comment that someone else made about our looks and clothing and stuck with it to show the world that just because we didnt have all the luxuries everyone else did we had pride hope and a dream and we made everyone of those true so to all of you who find it offensive you should take a closer look and see that being a CENTRALIA ORPHAN is not offesive it stands for way more than you will ever know. Centralia Orphan Class of 2000

Anonymous said...

If the posters on this blog aren't brave enough to at least put a 'fake' name when posting, and only list as "Anonymous", perhaps they shouldn't post.

I'll be happy to discuss this with any of you. Please contact me using the information below.

Mr. Anonymous Jones
123 Mockingbird Lane
Timbuk2, USA
Ph: (555) 555-5555

Anonymous said...

When I joined the service I was proud to be one of the men and women defending the freedoms of this great nation. I really am disgusted Now that I see what people use one of the most cherished freedoms for. You use the freedom of speech to wage war on a high school mascot from behind a computer 1500 miles away. Seriously? You really do seem like an ambitious person ,and you could possibly do something great in your life. Try aiming at something more helpful to mankind. Try cancer, autism ,or hunger. Yes we really dont care if you dislike our mascot like I said before. im really just admireing your fortitude.

Anonymous said...

She must be from Salem or Mt Vernon

Anonymous said...

Our mascot offends you? Okay, I'll listen to your reasoning why. I can see a glimmer of justification...I can PROMISE you, though, that the thousands of children sitting in orphanages could care less. I've been to them around the world and I can assure you this would be the least of their worries. I've read your other blogs, as a professor I can see you enjoy sparking controversy and conversation-fine. Stick to women and law, it suits you better.

Stephanie P. said...


For argument purposes, we are still here talking to you about it because of the manner in which you discussed our town's mascot name offends us. The same reason that you started this discussion.

I feel that you ignore the viable arguments and only argue the statements that you have defense against. For example, you claim that your children are orphans, but at the same time, you do not shed any positive light to that heritage. I am offended by this.

Our team name is more than just a word. Orphans name shows courage, strength and triumph. So do "Real, live orphans" as you would call it.

By all means, debate the viable arguments, and not just the ones that suit your argument. You are a lawyer correct? So be a good one, and argue both sides.

You do not think that you have offended a whole community by the things you stated in this discussion? You are upset by the fact that a whole community has come to defend their namesake?

One more thing, I have a whole town that you should attack, and not just the team mascot. It is called Cut-and-Shoot, Texas. Wow, really, why the violence in the name?

Orphans are only what people's perception are of them to be. If you see them as handicapped, poor, defenseless ragamuffins with out any direction in the world, that is who they are. If you see them as children who are put into unfortunate circumstances that still have the capability to become strong, wise, independent and future leaders of America then that is who they are.

Ask other communities such as Salem, Carlyle, Mt. Vernon and surrounding cities if the Orphan name offends them other than the scores. Why don't you come up with viable arguments as well, because right now, your argument is based on opinion. Not facts. Show some numbers of people not liking the name, or taking offense, and I am not just talking about a few people. Majority rules correct?

Carrie Lee-Branson said...

Just thought as an Orphan Annie myself, I would give u some more mascots to destroy. They are all so demeaning to this country that I just can't take it any longer. The Laurel Hill Hoboes, a disgrace to homeless people everywhere. The Chinook Sugar Beaters, what did sugar ever do to them. The Orifino Maniacs, gives a bad rap to crazy people like u. What a shame!!! The Richland Bombers, gives children the idea that bombs are toys. Horrible. The Williamsport Millionaires, gives us all false hope. The New Braunfels Unicorns, we all no there are no such thing as unicorns but why use make-believe mascots. And my personal favorite, Watersmeet Nimrods. I think that one is right up UR alley Malinda. GET A LIFE AND LEAVE HARMLESS MASCOTS ALONE. Maybe teach ur "orphans" as u call them still, a thing or to about humanity and self worth. Neither if which do u possess!!!

J Fancher said...

I am reposting to the fella who thinks we cant post our real names. The orphans are a proud town the team evolved form some orphans who had nothing and came from nothing but in their own and as a team they evolved in to one huge family which is exactly what Centralia is one big family of people who care for eacother and show one another respect. The only thing this name stands for is when you become a Centralia Orphan you become part of a family who is there to help you succeed and be everything you dream to be we are not offensive and only close minded people would take it that way we have been The CENTRALIA ORPHANS for long before your time we took a comment that someone else made about our looks and clothing and stuck with it to show the world that just because we didnt have all the luxuries everyone else did we had pride hope and a dream and we made everyone of those true so to all of you who find it offensive you should take a closer look and see that being a CENTRALIA ORPHAN is not offesive it stands for way more than you will ever know. Centralia Orphan Class of 2000

malinda said...

Lots of things in this great democracy are decided by majority rule. Truth just doesn't happen to be one of them. If a majority of the people say the sky is green, that doesn't make it so. There was a time in this country where the majority thought slavery was right. That did not make it so.

Am I surprised that a majority of the people in Centralia think the Orphan name is just hunky-dory? Of course not! But it seems you folks can't even stand a few dissenting opinions! You might want to ask yourselves where that degree of defensiveness comes from. And ask yourself this -- what happens in a dozen years if the majority of Centralians decided that the name was offensive. Would your mind suddenly be changed? Somehow I doubt it.

I blog about adoption issues -- ALL adoption issues, including the difficulties of raising adopted children in a world where everyone makes assumptions for them, where everyone tells them how they SHOULD feel instead of asking them how they actually feel and accepting their feelings as valid, even when we can't quite understand or agree with those feelings.

What would a Centralia parent say if their formerly-orphaned child said, "I don't like going to games because I feel like people are making fun of orphans." Judging from the reactions here, I'd guess the child would be told to simply stop feeling that way. That's certainly what I've been told.

Is there no room for dissent in Centralia? Anyone reading the comments here would quickly learn not to voice a minority view in Centralia, for fear of being insulted, mocked, and threatened.

I see my job (a job that nets me not one penny and certainly no glory, btw!) as an adoption blogger as making people THINK of other viewpoints about adoption. People want to exalt a happy-happy-joy-joy view of adoption, and yes, there is a great deal of joy in adoption. But that ignores real issues like corruption, trafficking, loss & grief, identity issues, discrimination, racism, and the like.

If I thought I had made the people of Centralia THINK that there was another way to see their mascot's name, I'd consider my job well done, even if no one was convinced of my viewpoint. But I find that very few among the commenters are willing to open their minds even a crack to see any other perspective.

I will simply reiterate what I said in the initial blog post (which I'm beginning to suspect very few commenters have actually read) -- regardless of your INTENT, the mascot name "reinforces all kinds of stereotypes about poor, helpless, unwanted orphans that perpetuate the whole "be grateful" meme that adoptees suffer under." And many of the commenters accept this stereotype while arguing that there's a positive part to the stereotype because of the "pulling yourself up by your bootstraps" argument.

Though few from Centralia seem interested in thinking about other perspectives, I suspect others who've read the post AND your comments have been thinking about it. And I never care whether people agree with me, so long as they THINK.

And can I get just the slightest nod of appreciation for the fact that I have not censored one single comment here, I've invited you to comment even anonymously, I haven't removed even the threatening comments? You do realize I could erase the whole lot of them, right? Give me the props for not doing so. Or are you going to come up with some evil motive to attribute to me for this, too?

malinda said...

J Fancher,

I agree, I've been impressed with the number of people who are willing to use what I assume are their real names in this discussion.

But one point of clarification -- orphans don't "come from nothing." That's pretty dismissive of their birth parents.

mackenzie Prather said...

As a member of the class of 2008, I have to say all these people were right. CHS went through hard times, and the name that came out of it stands for every other high school team that never thought we'd make it. I was a proud Annie soccer player - didn't hurt that we had full, matching Nike uniforms though. To all those that don't understand, go to a small town high school football game next year.

Anonymous said...

To all the ignorant "Orphans" who have no f&cking clue what they are talking about: (((INSERT OBSCENE GESTURE HERE))).

You ignorants make me SICK. Your defense of your school's stupid mascot name is vomit-enducing. The name IS OFFENSIVE to those of us who are true orphans.


PS: I think your school's mascot should be "head up the @ss".

- yea, head up the ass really shows how much better you are than us. how about some constructive criticism next time, and not just pointless bashing.

J Fancher said...

Malinda if you want to take every single comment to the furthest exent of its context go right ahead... however I do not appreciate you changing one fragment of a sentence from my post and turning it into something it was not what I said was that we got our name from people making fun of us in our raggy uniforms and poking at us because we did not have the best of the best we are not the richest of communities in finaces but we are richer than any other community in pride I am not reffering to your term of "orphans" I am referring to my ORPHANS the CENTRALIA ORPHANS the people you have chosen to belittle for proving some sportscaster wrong some hundred years ago so.... when you choose to pick your phrases please do so carefully I am not dissmissing anyones birthparents I am stating that peolple who were poking at us because we didn't have great uniforms and came from nowhere with nothing and evolved into one of the best supported teams in the nations so get your comments straight and realize what I was saying before sticking words in my post Thank you

Jenn said...

Maybe some people choose not to leave their names because you have already proven yourself to be what we call a "Facebook stalker". You come down in us for what you say is us not opening our minds, however, even after ALL of these comments, you choose to view the word through stereotypes. What kind of example for your children is that? And PLEASE comment back regarding your position of now knowing your photo, which you DO NOT have permission to use, has offended people. You expect us to change our views since we "offend you", now we expect this picture TO BE REMOVED. Would you find it disturbing to know your child's photo was stolen from a website that had permission to use said photo, then used to foster a persons view of which you completely disagree? It is completely inappropriate. After numerous individuals have mentioned this, the photo is still up. I guess you don't care about the children in this photo? I find that very hypocritical.
JENNIFER ZINK, Class of 1999

Patrick Erickson said...

And I could say the same to you. YOU have not opened your mind to consider than this is really a non-issue.

YOU are the one ignoring a now over 90% of your commenters, CHS grads and others, who disagree with you.

YOU are the one so set in her ways. We have presented you with irrefutable evidence, from past and present, that this is a non-issue. It is YOU who continually ignores it.

This is not a sky is a certain color issue. You can PROVE that it is blue. Unless you are blind or color blind. It is a scientific fact. It is NOT a scientific fact that the word Orphan offends people when used in any way outside of the use of describing parent less children. So nice try with that analogy, it is entirely false and incorrect.

And the only thing this article has made me think about is that I wish some people didn't have the right to free speech. Which, coming from a fierce patriot and long-time member of the media is truly saying something.

Anonymous said...

There are over 300 million people in the United States. I bet if you would go door to door, you would find EVERYONE is offended by something. There is absolutely nothing malicious or derogatory, intended or implied, in the name "Orphan". "Orphan" may offend you, but YOU may offend me.....It's all in the perception.

Proud Orphan, Class of '82
Nancy Sanders

IlliniAmy said...

As someone with no ties whatsoever to Centralia and one who adopted an orphaned child, I find this to be much ado about nothing. The "Orphans" nickname has a rich & vast history. It is warmly embraced by the Centralia community. There is no stereotyping, no hatred, no mocking, nothing negative whatsoever. IF the nickname was used in a degrading manner, I would feel much differently.

Anyone offended by Centralia's use of the nickname "Orphans" either has a skewed notion of the term orphan or is looking to be offended. My daughter is not embarrassed in the least in regards to that portion of her personal history. It's part of who she is.

Anonymous said... these times of financial hardship and world disasters and turmoil all that is on you mind is attacking a community over a mascot.
We currently have a child living in our home who we hope to adopt and give a fair shot in life much as this city adopts the kids who play sports. Attend an Orphans sporting event and you will see the support of an entire community. Orphans do not choose to Orphans except in Centralia. Many great Orphans have come from our small community and we are very proud of them. My children were Orphan Annies and I am very proud of them and what they stand for. This whole blog amazes me!!

malinda said...

In your view, the only way to be "open-minded" is simply to say that you are right. My view of open-mindedness is to CONSIDER all the arguments. I have considered them. I have pointed out why I don't agree with them.

The various arguments from the Centralia side seem to be:

1. We don't mean it to be offensive.

I've noted repeatedly that I absolutely accept that no one a CHS means to give offense. That does not, however, mean that something isn't offensive.

2. We are proud of it; it has a long and glorious history.

Of course you are. What school keeps a mascot they are not proud of? All I'm asking is that you consider that what is your pride may not be someone else's pride.

3. No one we know finds it offensive.

I absolutely believe you are sincere in believing that no one you know finds it offensive. Again, that's a version of argument #1.

And, I don't think anyone in Centralia would let on if they did find it offensive. Given the treatment I've received for a dissenting opinion, I can't imagine anyone actually there would dare to face it. Again, I am not attributing evil to anyone, I'm simply pointing out what I see as a culture that so prides itself on unity that there isn't much room for alternative viewpoints -- at least on this issue. Of course, I'm drawing this inference from the commenters here. Maybe all the other Centralians are less judgmental.

3. No orphan we know is offended by it, therefore no other orphans can be offended, either.

Not all orphans think alike, and I have never pretended otherwise. But you know what? You can't predict how any particular child will deal with the issues involved in abandonment, orphanhood, adoption. Why deliberately place obstacles that could be hurtful?

4. It is an insignificant matter, why bother criticizing it.

As I said in the original post, "No, it's not the most serious offense against adoptees I've ever seen, but does it have to be before we remark upon it?"

Have you even consdered any of the arguments I've made? I'm not asking you to agree with them -- I'm asking if you've considered them. After doing so, feel free to reject them on the merits. But calling me names, insulting my parenting, insulting my blogging, insulting my lawyering, attributing evil motives to me, is not rejection on the merits.

People can disagree about things. It doesn't make either side bad guys. It simply means we disagree.

Nichol said...

So we've heard from Salem, but what do adopted and foster children from other schools think when they play us in sports? When they, as cheerleaders, are made to shout weird, anti-orphan chants? I think that's the part that has always just stood out to me as odd and a little disturbing. As insular as the "Orphan Nation" is, it still must necessarily interact with and impact outsiders, many of them insecure teenagers.

Frankly, I'm surprised it's taken this long for someone to both be bothered by the name and be vocal about it. I wouldn't vehemently oppose a name change, knowing whatever the replacement, it would also be suitably weird. It's just that I'm far too jaded in my town view to think such a thing could actually ever happen.

Oh, and I only used anonymous followed by my name in that weird format because it was late and I didn't realize I didn't have to use my Google ID in order to be an actual person.

Salem Supporter of the Orphan said...

Malinda darling, You seem to missing the point of your own article. You persistently claim to have written the blog to open eyes to the sensitive subject that is the Orphans; however, you have been nothing but close minded in your readings and responses of the comments posted in rebuttal of your argument. You play the "victim" and claim that all others are being defensive and close-minded, just as you are. What you are failing to consider is this...What if someone were to attack your family? Would you not defend them and yourself? That is simply what all the Orphans' fans are doing. They are defending their "family", something every "real" orphan, as you so eloquently state it, longs to have. The only wrong being done is that you are wasting time and energy on this article that could be spent with your beautiful children. Why pick on something that is bigger than you? Why attack someone's family? You wouldn't like the same done to you....

Jeanna Salem Grad '06, daughter of a CHS grad of '76

Salem Supporter for the Orphan said...


I am from Salem, and my brother played on both the basketball and baseball team there. His best friend, and one of his teammates is adopted, and I can tell you from personal experience, he has no problem shouting "anti-orphan" cheers. He isn't offended by the mascot name because that is all that it is, and he understands that. I have spent the last 17 years of my life around him and his family, which also has adopted another child. Neither of them consider the term derogatory and they enjoy chanting against the Orphans because they are a rival of our high school. I understand your concern, but I can assure you that, at least in this case knowing the family personally, there is no offense taken regarding the term "Orphan". It is the symbol for their high school...and that is the extent to which it is considered. It is not demeaning or belittling.

Anonymous said...

Why are you so determined to point out that these children you are defending are orphans? Why not refer to them as children does the obvious nature of thier lives have to be stated and refered to as an orphan why not a well spirited child or a fun loving child? Who cares that there are defined as orphans by a dictionary leave the name off when reffering to them personally I would think that it is more offensive to be reffered to by people as an orphan how about they are human biengs just like the rest of us defend that instead of using your freedom of speech to slander CHS for having the mascot we have had for more than a hundred years.

Stile Smith said...

I'm done with you. You have only replied to the arguments you have the ability to disagree with and have ignored the solid, sound arguments that have been made. You have no ground for your argument. Shut your mouth, get off you soapbox, and keep your business in Texas. You are not worth my time, so I won't be back to your blog giving it the page views it does not deserve.

Anonymous said...

two-faced hypocrite who doesn't care about anything but your own agenda. why are you not responding to the valid arguments made here. ones from actual "orphans", ones from their families and teammates, ones from those offended by your photo? because, again, you are only concerned with your agenda and finding something to complain about. your lack of caring about those you have offended regarding the picture alone show shows your TRUE character and reflects very poorly on you as a Mother.

Orphans 4 Life said...

Who is going to go through Malinda's followers of this blog and see who is feeding her all this bullshit about the Orphans?? Obviously, it's someone in our own backyard that is too scared to bring it up in their own town.

Anonymous said...

wow. I am neither an orphan or an Orphan but cannot fathom why anyone who isn't DIRECTLY related to the situation (i.e. A true orphan, going to school at CHS who is honestly OFFENDED by the idea), sticking their nose where it does not belong. But I suppose that's where most of trouble lies... everyone feels the need to be in everyone else's business when it is of no business of their own. Honestly, most of you people who were, or are, literally orphans wouldn't even KNOW about CHS mascot had this lady not opened it up to be such a big deal. You don't live around here, it doesn't effect you, if you ARE offended, it isn't something you have to live with every day. But yet, you feel the need to put down a mascot name that's been around longer than you have?! lol! I guarantee I could come to your town & find something I find offensive... you know what I would do, I'd shut the hell up and leave b/c it's not DIRECTLY effecting me! Instead of worrying about a mascot, go make better use of your time... go volunteer at an orphanage, spread all, if any, POSITIVES about being an orphan (& I say "if any" b/c I DON'T KNOW, I've been blessed to have never had to endure such a thing)... do something POSITIVE with your time & quit harrassing people who have done nothing to you & quite honestly, would probably give you the shirt off their back if you needed it.... I'm a PROUD CARLYLE INDIAN ~ who happens to be part Cherokee, and I'm not offended. ;)

Anonymous said...

I am an CHS orphan and this is tooo much. We have no problems with anyone taking offense to the name. We actually love our name bc its soo unique and different. Everyone at our school is happy to be an orphan. We take pride in being one. I know I wouldn't want to be any other but an orphan. I am a orphan for life!!!!!

andrea said...

i have two adopted children from China, they grew up as Orphans (the team) they have never known anything but positive about that name. It instilled pride. I understand that you blog for adoption issues, there are much bigger issues to tackle in the adoption world . . . as children being sold for the sex trade. Let's try to make a positive difference in our community. As for those who are offended, I would think I would have heard about it being a part of a adoptive group here. There is no need for name-calling on both sides my dear. You stated that you just are blogging on adoption issues, however, at the end of your blog you most certainly allowed others to join you on changing the name of the mascot. And then you wondered why people are upset. Try to be a better person, all of us. It's God's job to judge others.

Ted Meisenheimer said...

"Orphan" Class of "68. My parents Class of '44 and '48, my Grandparents Class of 1918 and 1919. Our mascot is not a slam against orphans, but rather a response to a to a snide remark made by elite media of the day towards a small school in a tournament stuggle against the big Chicago schools. Rather than taking it personnal, they wore it like a badge of courage. This small school has since become one of the winningest teams in high school basketball, nationwide. They have won 4 state championships and 1600 + games in their "Orphan" history. Another thing, there is a state run Orhanage in Centralia, and all of their residents attend the Centralia city school system, and I have never heard any of them complain about the name. Like other commentors, we have other more important issues to worry about. All this political correctness has become just a bunch of crap to stir up the emotions of a few to mess with the rest. Just enjoy life and get on with it.

Teresa R said...

I just love this Malinda chick who wanted to start a bunch of talk about nothing. I am a grad of CHS "02" I love my High School I never was in a sport or on the cheer squad but I am sure PROUD to call myself an Orphan. We have came from nothing just like Orphans would do we have sturggled to get where we are now today. Why would you have to start stuff with a town that you have never been to and know nothing about you had to look up something on wikipedia to get your info.I have read all of the comments on here and not once have I seen a threat to you so why would you say that? We are the most freindliest town.We have alot of people who moved here from other contries and they have nothing and they have built their way up in this town that is what this town is about. How would you like it if someone came to your hometown and said that we dont like the name of your school mascot lets change it? You might not care cause you may not be involved maybe you are who knows well all of us here in Centralia are involved in our school in some way and we love it here in our small midwest town and there is not in no way that our name is discrimanting any orphan (meaning that they have no parents).

Anonymous said...

To all the OrFANS across the country reading this blog .... I personally would like to thank Malinda for giving those of us belonging to the Orphan Nation another reason to unite and show pride for our mascot and our town.

I can see how our beloved mascot may offend those already taught to see an "orphan" as a "poor, helpless, unwanted" being. But I feel that the problem is less the name and more what Malinda herself seems to be putting out there. It almost seems as though she herself is teaching that stereotype. What I find sad is that instead of seeing the love and belonging that we as Centralia Orphans feel for our town and the extended family we've created, she uses it to show what a crusader she is for the rights of these children. I would have assumed that someone with such passion for orphaned children, even if not in total agreement with our name or ideals, would want to find positive in anything that she feels may hurt her children or others who call themselves orphans. I'm almost beginning to think that Malinda is incapable of finding the positive in any bad situation although this is strictly a perception based on her writings. Our team is backed by a town full of people who, as others have mentioned, have seen so much sadness, mine disasters, families losing everything to fire, families without electricity ... the list goes on, but what has remained is how unite in the face of adversity and the love we have for our team. Why not focus on how a town, in this day and age, can still band together to support anything? I do not think we'll ever change Malinda's mind. It's a sense of belonging that I'm sad to say, I don't think she's ever felt so could never possibly understand. I wonder if there is some jealousy, wishing she had belonged to anything with a bond so strong.

What worries me is the closed minded negativity coming from many of her responses. While she criticizes us for defending what many of us have grown to love as family and for being unwilling to change our opinion of the name because it has such a special place in our hearts, she herself does the same ... defends what she believes in and refuses to change her mind. If showing the support we give to our Orphans and the love the town has for everyone, regardless of circumstance, doesn't change her views in the slightest, nothing will, and that's okay. Thankfully unless she chooses to look for us online, she really doesn't have to deal with us at all.

I wonder why she had nothing to say to about the post by "Linda" on Oct 16 which said "It's one thing is (if?) the team was comprised of adult adoptlings and they named their team "The Orphans" as a tongue in cheek thing. But at a school? Not so much." I suppose I could have missed the response, but if in fact there isn't one, I would think that something "tongue in cheek" about orphans would be much more offensive that a high school mascot.

Continued below ....

Anonymous said...

Continued from above ...

It also worries me that Malinda is responsible for raising children today who are apparently being taught to be intolerant of the differences of others and that if someone has an opinion that differs from their own, especially if it offends them, to attack it. My problem isn't that some people may not like our name, someone somewhere is offended by everything, my problem is more that while she says we attack her, threaten her and really show nothing to truly to defend the name, her blog itself does all of those things. It wasn't an unbiased article full of fact, it was a basically slam from the very beginning, the title. I for one am teaching my children that there are things in this cruel world that they may not like, people and things that may hurt their feelings and offend them, struggle and grief. I am also trying with my whole being to give them the tools to overcome these things. I want to show them that's okay sometimes to fight for what they believe in, yet to be tolerant of others and what they believe in and to walk away when it's something so distant that it really has little to no impact on their lives. To choose their battles carefully. I also feel and hope to teach our kids, that it's important to be proud of where you come from, regardless of where that may be. Whether it's an orphanage, the streets, a nice cozy home or a shack in a small town ... this is what makes a person who they are and shouldn't we all be instilling this pride in self to every child we ever come in contact with? Shouldn't we be teaching them that the more hardships they overcome the stronger people they grow to be? The pride of the Orphan Nation instills more pride, even unintentionally, than anything her blog shows. Centralia has almost always been a town of "underdogs" and yet so many years later, we're still here, many of us doing well and for that I'm proud. The blog seems much more based on pity for her kids, and pats on the back to her for raising them.

I've honestly thought about this blog for days now. Not because her opinion matters much in my life, but because it does feel like an attack on a family, my family. Nothing we can say or do, polite or otherwise will change her feelings and that's okay. I personally feel there are many more important things to rally against but what she does with her time isn't my business. I can only hope she takes a minute tonight to hug her children and tell them how grateful she is the "powers that be" brought them to her, how fantastic it is for her to share her life with them and how proud she is to be their mom.

And to Malinda, as I said above, thank you. Thank you for bringing us all together yet again, and thank you for giving me a medium to show my love and support for the sleepy little town I was so ready to leave, yet miss everyday. There isn't much more to say to you, you don't seem to want to listen to us any more than we want to listen to you. Hope you have a great week and Happy Holidays!

CHS Class of '97 -Anonymous because, as others have mentioned, you do seem to quite possibly be an internet stalker.

SD CHS Class of '87 said...

Interesting fact I really had no intention of commenting on it. Yes, I can see for the sake of it "the argument" if we were in a court of law. However, we are not. Simply saying, kudos to you malinda for taking a stance and adopting children! Lord knows we need more people willing to stand up and do the best for all children regardless of race or cultural backgrounds. Do I find it offensive to have a team Mascot as Orphans? No, why? Because I see it as it is....a team mascot. Nothing more. No derogatory implications or racism. Perhaps you are unfamiliar with "Pep Rallies" or "Go Team Spirit Rallies". Its something we do here in our small town. Its to show our support for our team. No different than us showing support for the St Louis Cardinals win of the World Series. Do we attack the mascot of the Texas Rangers? A Palomino-style horse?? What does prancing around a ball field on national TV say about the breed of that type of horse? Nothing if you take it for it is...a team mascot. But I suppose to the breed of horse it could be taken offensively or sterotyped.

Lets be a bit more realistic here.

I do find what you have done with adopting children from abroad to be wonderful and commend you for your heart to take a child into your own home as your own. Orphans are children who sometimes seem as though the world has forgotten them but through individuals such as yourself we can open doors to help orphans become a part of a forever home.

Do I find the Orphans mascot name offensive? No because I see it for what it is...a team mascot, to represent overcoming adversity and to have the determination to succeed and get through challenges that might lie ahead, but what I do find offensive is the fact that you take a photo (assuming) that you have no legal right to and post it on a public internet blog.

You as an Attorney/Law Professor should first and foremost understand that you must obtain the written permission of the parents for each of the minor children you have now thrown into the public's eye via the internet in the cause of your one sided view of a team mascot to a high school you are no where near being affiliated with.

Perhaps the parents of each child should be contacted and legal infringements be brought against you and your blog for the unsafe posting of a photo of minor children? Now that all the pervs and pedoifiles know where they are located.

You may not see any harm in posting your own children's photos on the net but Im sure the parents of the children you posted probably wouldn't agree to having their child on a public internet blog.

Centralia High School Class of 1987 and proud of overcoming adversity and challenges to being one of the winningest teams in the nation!!

Wayne Dersch, Esq said...


Full Disclosure: I'm an attorney from Centralia ('03), now a member of California bar.

I hesitate to comment on this article at all for the basic idea that arguments make the other side dig in deeper to hold on to their position. However, here goes.

It is our jobs, as attorneys, to strain words to mean certain things. You are entirely correct, words have meaning. You are also correct, words have variable meanings to different people from all walks of life, and there really is no such thing as a "fact" or "truth". I don't disagree with you at all. It is in the nature of our business to construe words and perspectives. Obviously then, I take no objection to your article. In fact, I find it well articulated and a solid stance on your behalf.

However, I still believe your argument is flawed. Clearly, your bias is out in the open (the blog being called "Adoption Talk" and about Orphan nickname), which immediately flags your perspective on what Orphan means. That term has a certain meaning for you, and you've made that clear that others (possibly minority) view it this way.

As an attorney, you are aware of the Nuisance Doctrine of Hypersensitivity. For those unaware, nuisance is when the use or enjoyment of your property, either private or public, is disturbed without actual trespass. There can be no recovery for nuisance, however, if you're a hypersensitive plaintiff. Of course, there are different meanings of hypersensitivity, but it comes down to the core issue that a person who is more sensitive than the common person (dare I say reasonably prudent person?) cannot claim nuisance due since they are overly-sensitive.

How is your perspective not born from being hypersensitivity? Please note I do not mean hypersensitive in a judgmental, negative tone. Instead it is a well-settled legal idea I believe translates properly to this discussion. You're clearly concerned about adoption and adoptiontalk. You're in a unique position to comment more than the common person on this subject matter. This translates to a hypersensitivity for you not found in the general public, which is confirmed through nearly every one of the non-Centralia commenters.

Do you see this fatal flaw? In a court of law, you cannot recover. In the court of public opinion, your argument also suffers. Of course, you can dismiss hypersensitivity (and I assume you will refute this), but you cannot ignore you are in a unique perspective making you more sensitive than the common person. Is that a fact you will stipulate to?

Finally, your article fails to connect the name Orphans to the much larger issue of mascot insensitivity. You quote articles, but you don't connect or relate on how Orphans is similar. The articles you cite relate to Native Americans, Confederacy, and the nature of creating a sort of hegemony of acceptance of those terms among those whom use them.

However, where's the connection with Orphans? How does this term create a hegemonic pattern of social stratification among society? Surely your hypersensitivity will not lead you to argue that somehow the use of Orphans is creating a hierarchy pattern between Orphans and non-Orphans. How does calling a team name Orphan create social inequality and perpetuate a stereotype? I challenge you to find a stereotype of a reputable source that demeans orphan children, and how that stereotype coherently and logically fits with naming a sports team Orphans.

Kudos, by the way, for not deleting comments. But don't use this as your ivory tower to avoid the clear flaws in your argument.

Anonymous said...

I think you need to get your facts straight before you start running your mouth. Our team is called the orphans largly due to the fact that when yhe number nine mine blew up most of the kids lost there fathers and were orphans. Our town has a lot of pride for our teams so you need to keep your nose where it belongs.

Bobby Martin said...

"And, I don't think anyone in Centralia would let on if they did find it offensive. Given the treatment I've received for a dissenting opinion, I can't imagine anyone actually there would dare to face it."
Now , I'm offended by this. I graduated from CHS in 96 and have made fun of the name and sports teams my four years there and the last 15 years. I haven't been lynched yet, the most I ever get is a sad look. However you have made a blanket assumption that Centralia is full of backwater inbred uneducated simpleton hicks. If you are so offended at the term orphans then quite reminding your children that they are orphans and start treating them as your own children. Of course that may be hard for you since after flipping though your site it seems that you spend a lot of time sitting on the computer typing allot of mush. Maybe getting of your ass and away from the computer and spending that time with your children will let them feel less of unwanted orphans and more part of a family.

Anonymous said...

Batman and James Bond are orphans I guess we shouldn't cheer for them now either now.

Anonymous said... you not have anything better to do with your time? I too am surprised you got anyone to agree with such a ridiculous article. Enough time waste on this...

Anonymous said...


Class of 93' ORPHAN here and I am proud to have been a part of of ORPHAN NATION !

I am sorry to see that youre offended by our team's name. I do however think it is a bit trival to be offended by it.

From what i've gathered your offended because you've adopted a couple Orphans....that is great !

Spend a little more time turning your Orphans into proud confident adults rather then a thin skinned crybaby like yourself.

The world is a tough place but with a little pride and self worth anyone can do great things.

Hopefully you did not find this offensive...if so.....go hug a tree

Christina Becker Hodges said...

I am a PROUD Orphan Annie the Class of 1994 to be a matter of a fact.. I have two adopted step children and I don't the Name Orphan or Orphan Annies offensive... I come from a father that was in the CHS and many aunts and Uncles that graduated from CHS... We love our basketball and football basically AN ALL AMERICAN SPORTS fanatics... What I find offensive that such a blog to be posted about our beloved Orphans... I have long gone moved from Centralia but my home roots are still there.. I celebrate their wins and as well as the loses... We are a strong committee that will stand together as one.

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