This is a word to all the white folks out there grappling with your own ignorance and inability to register you've just said/done something racist and can't reconcile this with your own identity as someone nice:
Let. It. Go. Let go of that nasty little knot of "but I'd never do that!" that you're carrying around, that sense of martyrdom that springs up in you and that oh-so-damaged sense that your pride in yourself has just been sunk so low you're not sure you'll ever recover.
Because you will. It's in human nature to rebound. Unless, you know, you're suicidal or depressed, but even so: let it go. If you're seriously having sanity issues then you need to recognize that this is the imbalance talking, taking advantage of opportunity; table it until you can if you have to, but don't avoid your responsibility forever. You're white. You're enmeshed in a culture that tells you you don't have to think about these things, that teaches you that you're absolved of all the blame; that your history, even when it matters, is not something you need to take responsibility for.
It is not your fault specifically that you inherit the history of your ancestors, but it is your responsibility to acknowledge your history and to fight it; it is your fault when you allow the cultural colorblindness you inherited to continue, simply because you didn't do it personally, because you didn't start it. It is your fault when you take the experience of being called out for continuing to perpetrate it and being vilified for it and being rightfully torn asunder verbally for it ... and decide to answer it with terrified silence, reinforcing by omission the idea that white people have the right to ignore the damage they have caused and continue to cause.
What have you to fear? Really? What "safety" have you really lost? If you're worried you've lost the ability to unthinkingly enable racist rhetoric and logic, look around you: there are plenty of other spaces on the internet that will welcome you with open arms. You're white. The culture will validate you anywhere. Majority fannish culture still considers your selfishness and disinterest standard operating procedure. Congratulations! You're a white person who doesn't give a shit about non-white people. You're not special. Let go of your martyr complex because it just isn't true.
But if you're scared that somehow this inhibits your ability to speak out against racism, then let me explain something to you: you've already hit bottom. You've made yourself out as a racist. You've publicly shown the world that your white imperiosity has no clothes. You are naked, and honestly: you're white, nobody's surprised. Shocked, horrified, and probably disappointed, but surprised? Not so much. Because everyone else? Everyone else expects this shit from whitey. Maybe not specifically from you, but - you're still white. White culture has spent thousands of years perfecting the "well-intentioned" act of racist erasure. If you're white then you were trained to think this is normal. Behaving like a racist little shit is our status quo.
Even if you think you're an ally. Allies fail too. In fact, many allies start out as failures who get smacked on the mouth hard enough they start listening. Failing again just puts you back at square one, and if you've worked to become an ally before, accept that this means you're starting over, because you should have learned the first time around that putting the effort in is worth it every time, no matter how many times you have to do it, because if you know you can be better then you know how it feels to be better. You should want that. You should work to earn that feeling again. Every white person starts at square one and grows beyond it by looking outward, beyond themselves; are you so afraid of listening to other people that this bothers you? Seriously?
Because - that's the important part about fighting racism. You listen. You learn. You don't take your guilt and shame and misery and turn inward to make the pain all about you; instead, you turn it outward and use that shame to force yourself to do better. Because as bad as you might feel about it, what you did was racist, and "feeling bad about it" means you still don't get it. Because that's nothing compared to the sheer nastiness you inflicted on other people by committing a racist act in the first place.
You get that? Your sorrow means nothing in the face of your own cruelty towards others. That is the lesson you need to learn. To say your feelings matter one bit in the face of a racist act you perpetrated is to make of yourself a white-person crocodile.
Sure, it hurts. Let me guess: you don't trust yourself anymore. How can you speak out again? How can anyone ever trust what you have to say again? But your feelings of self-doubt are nothing compared to systemic oppression and dehumanization and flat-out ignorance of other people even existing.
So you're suicidal (because of a chemical imbalance whose necessary medication you can't afford) over a few words - let's face it, I'm not describing some hypothetical white person's reaction to their fuckup here, I'm describing my own - big fucking deal. They're words, and they're speaking the truth.
If this gets you so out of sorts you're wondering if you have anything in the house to easily over-prescribe yourself, imagine how it feels to go your whole life told you'll always be less than a person in everyone else's eyes for something as unavoidable and impossible to hide as the color of your skin or the shape of your eyes or the consistency of your hair. Those aren't just a few words, said in a moment of justifiable anger; those are the commonplace assumptions of the culture trying to kill yours. Imagine how suicidal you would be then. Imagine how stifled you would feel living with that level of public dismissal surrounding every piece of discourse you ever make.
It is not a dismissal of legitimate psychological issues to say that in comparison your white woman's tears are nothing. It's just fact. Your chemical imbalance does not trump someone else's lived experience.
So get over it. You want to prove to the people who you've hurt that you're not a sparklypoo racist windbag worth ignoring who has her head shoved up her ass so far she can't see anything but shit?
You fight yourself. You fight that impulse that makes you want to shut your mouth and stop talking about why racism is wrong. Because I know it's there. I know you have it because I have it too, when I fail (and I failed hard and recently, so the feelings are still fresh), and that's white privilege talking. That impulse is as racist as the impulse that drove you to spew pain and misery all over everyone else in the first place. You keep talking. You keep fighting the privilege you were born with and you never settle.
And you never, ever, ever expect forgiveness. You understand that? It's not your place to demand anything; you were in the wrong, nobody has to listen to anything you say. You stop expecting forgiveness - because expecting forgiveness means you're still expecting people to care about you more than they have to care about keeping their own sanity in place, and that means you're still acting from your own unacknowledged white privilege, the privilege to make every discussion about race about you instead. (The irony of writing these words in a rant focused specifically on white folks' reactions to being called "racist" does not escape me; nevertheless.)
Let go of yourfuckingself for half a second, okay?
You keep fighting racism because it's the right thing to do - because to do otherwise is to add to oppression and injustice and erasure of all the people who don't get to share in your privilege, in your culturally-enabled desire to pretend that nothing outside your own head really matters. It has nothing to do with who loves you and who doesn't, and everything to do with the fact that racism in any shape or form is wrong.
That's what matters. That's what you need to learn. "Nice" is a pretense you have used up till now to comfort your own feelings and soothe your own fears, and your feelings, your fears, are insignificant in the face of the hate you have allowed to continue perpetrating itself.
So let go of them.
And learn how to listen to other people. For once. For a change. For the rest of your life. Because - if "niceness" is something you give a shit about - there's nothing "nice" about the dismissal of other voices in favor of your own, when you're the one who's always had the power to be heard.