Downplaying racism is a dangerous battle, however, I believe we have entered a new era of "political correctness." Studies have shown that people pile more and more rules on general society so they feel more comfortable. While this is okay to a certain point, people should still be allowed to voice their opinion as long as they are not directly harming anyone.
Racism needs to be countered in society, and even extremes are necessary at times. Racism is simply an intolerable behavior, and must be given strong opposition if it is not to flourish. It's necessary and may even be harsh, but it has to happen, so we need to do it now.