The Return of Racist Jokes

The Toronto Star, in Race is the New 'Sex' in Today's Pop Culture, comments on an upswing in ethnic jokes among teenagers that I've noticed even in our very politically correct town:
Ryan (Hearst), 19, says he and his friends will often make racist jokes towards one another. "A black friend of mine will take my keys or something and poke fun at himself for stealing," Ryan says. His Asian roommate is also fair game ... Laughing at each other just shows how close and comfortable they all are... "We couldn't go to people we don't know and make those kind of jokes, because who knows how people will react? There always has to be lines. Without lines and rules, there's chaos."
For this intimacy-hungry generation, then, it seems that lines aren't drawn between WHAT you can and can't say when it comes to race-related comments, but between specific groups of people to WHOM you say them. Does that mean anything goes as long as a person is in your posse? Or are there still a few absolute rules when it comes to teasing a close friend of another race? (Like a white person calling a black person the N-word, for example?) Hearst and his buddies freely make fun of an Asian friend's physique (go to the article if you want to read the guy-oriented details; I don't want this post showing up on weirdo google searches), but he lets his black friend "poke fun of himself." Is there a reason for that?