Community advocates suggested Monday a cautious response to the recent appearance of Ku Klux Klan recruitment pamphlets in Hampton Bays, vowing to rally against the group if more appear.
Southampton Town police this weekend cited at least four complaints -- more anecdotally -- from residents who received the pamphlets in the past month. They advertised the Loyal White Knights, a KKK branch based in North Carolina, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based organization that tracks hate groups.
Local advocates say they will be watchful of anything more from the group.
"We're hoping and praying this is an isolated little phenomenon by a small group of people who are living in the past," said Sister Mary Beth Moore, who works with Centro Corazon de Maria in Hampton Bays and the advocacy group Neighbors in Support of Immigrants. "It seems a rather small distribution; it's sneakily done, it's done at night."
Robert Jones, the Knights' Grand Dragon, has said he was unaware of the Hampton Bays effort but noted the community hosts one of three New York chapters. He has said, "Everybody's fed up with immigration . . . That's why we have so many people from New York calling right now."
Rabbi Steven Moss, co-chairman of the Suffolk County Inter-Faith Anti-Bias Task Force, said, "You always have to be careful not to over-respond to something; that's exactly what some of these hate groups want."
Moss said leaders should be on guard for more pamphlets, and if they appear, a "stop the hate" rally might be wise.
The issue has riled the community of Hampton Bays, the most populous hamlet in Southampton Town, with 13,000 residents. Its Hispanic population has grown in recent years, and according to the 2010 Census the community is 68 percent white and 29 percent Hispanic.
Corey Dolgon, a sociology professor at Stonehill College in Massachusetts and the author of "The End of the Hamptons: Scenes from the Class Struggle in America's Paradise," said, "There's always been a Klan presence in the Hamptons . . . Historically, issues of race and ethnicity, especially around immigration, trigger Klan organizing."
Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst said, "As deplorable as the action is, it does not rise to a crime at this point."
But she added, "I'm sure the good citizens of the Town of Southampton will do what they should do with this material and put it in the garbage can."