Yeah, I have to say Sisko drawing attention to his black heritage was quite jarring, and took the shine off the episode a bit. I understand where he's coming from after his experience in the 1960s, but it was a clumsily handled moment that wasn't very Star Trek.
Having said that, I have such a soft spot for the episode. It was a cool ensemble piece where everyone had something to do, and they were all doing it for their friend. Now I think I said pretty much the same about Take Me Out To The Holosuite, which I also liked a fair bit. As fluff episodes that get in the way of the main arc in the last couple of seasons, I would rank these two episodes towards the top.
It's also one of the few instances of a holodeck/suite program doing what it was actually programmed to do. So there.