I think this is good news for certain of our actions in life. Especially the ones people challenge as in some way prejudiced.
If you start off with the assumption that all of your beliefs are borne out in all of your actions, of course you're going to get defensive/frustrated/angry when someone says your actions/words were offensive/discomfiting/otherwise unokay.
You may not think you make that assumption, but ask yourself: when someone challenges something you did/said, do you defend yourself with what you believe?
This might sound like: "Oh, of course I didn't mean it, because I am a feminist/believe in equal rights for all/actively fight this -phobia or that misogyny/etc."
Or worse, so much worse: "You misunderstood me/took it the wrong way. I believe this/that/the other thing, so obviously what I just said/did isn't a problem." This is usually followed up with a "Jeez, lighten up, you!" and/or "You're so sensitive!" and/or It's not always about race/gender/etc.!"
As though holding a belief/value meant you could never do anything contradictory. Jeez, what are you, perfect? Cut yourself some slack. Doing and saying things that violate some value of ours is almost a guarantee of the human condition. Live long enough, socialize with other people, it WILL happen.
If we let go of this assumption, I think it will be easier to hear and accept when someone feels wronged by our words/actions in some way. Easier not to discharge the anxiety of these moments by placing the burden on the party feeling wronged. Easier to accept that maybe we screwed up and that has no necessary implications for our personalities or belief systems - just that we screwed up.
And if we routinely find ourselves screwing up in similar ways, maybe it will be easier to step back and look at the difference between our professed beliefs and our patterns of behavior, because there's still no indictment of our overall worth or esteem. It just means we screw up pretty often and need to change.
If we do bring our beliefs into those discussions, it might look like this: "I am so sorry. Please tell me exactly what it was that made you feel the way you did [if they haven't already]; I really believe in this/that/the other thing, and I want to try to live like that and treat other people like that."
And I think it's okay to open/continue a dialogue like that even when we're feeling a little indignant. We can deal with the other person's concerns now and our indignation later. Maybe the former will help the latter. (Also, maybe not. Maybe we need to whine to our friends and hear them say, "So-and-so was right, you were wrong, but you handled it well.")
Hell, the person I have to have this dialogue with the most often is myself, and it's still a challenge.