This Chris Rock routine always made me wonder about a question I'm sure a lot of black people have, but don't ask white people, because it's awkward.
Do white people use the word "nigger" when black people aren't around?
I don't know, frankly. Here is all I, as a specific white person, honestly know about how white people use the word "nigger."
I grew up in a northeastern Queens neighborhood. My mom's dad, my grandfather, was a stone racist. He was also an asshole. A wonderful fellow when lubricated, but holy shit what an asshole.
Anyway, I remember being about eight or nine, so this is the late 1970s, where there was a summer party, probably about the 4th of July, where my mom and my grandpa had a screaming match because he was drunk and shouting "nigger" a lot and mom was trying to get my older sister and me away. You remember your mom crying, don't you, if you've ever seen it? Fun!
So if you want a data point, my mom's absolute censorship over the word "nigger" in our house in white northeast Queens in the 1970s-80s was highly unusual.
And then I got higher educated, and lost contact with my Queens roots...
Until through a bizarre set of circumstances, about 15 years ago, MollyI&I were in Howard Beach talking to a local, whose simile for a Camaro part was "as shiny as a nigger's ass."
Which was kind of fucked up.
So. In places like Howard Beach, or certain districts in Mississippi, or northeastern Queens (AND ALSO HOWARD BEACH!) I guess, well, it seems history is to blame.
Most cops and firemen I knew in the 1990s were sullen racists of the "they get all the breaks" class, but were not likely to say the word "nigger" in anything like non-brethren company, at least out of resentment.
Thus, I suppose, in my experience, "nigger" as a slur was common in private (all-white) usage in white working class northeast Queens through at least the middle of the 1990s.
Also in the 1970s in Queens: a "nigger chaser" was a firecracker set off with a short fuse so as to spin around and randomly explode in a small circle of idiot kids. You know, for fun...
This is basically what I know about how white people use the word "nigger" in private.