there are three main theories for the origin of the word:
1. the word originated from the practice of white males wishing to hire African-American prostitutes in the 1920's, and going to the appropriate part of town while honking their car horns to attract the whores. Some versions state that the reason for this was that the white men were too afraid to actually stop in those neighborhoods, so the honking would bring the hookers to them. Others say that since few African-Americans could afford cars back in that time, the honking signaled a higher-paying white client and would quickly gain the prostitutes attention.
2. the term comes from the word "honky-tonk", which was used as early as 1875 in reference to wild saloons in the Old West. Patrons of such disreputable establishments were referred to as "honkies", not intended as a racial slur but still a disparaging term.
3. "honkie" is a variation of "hunky" and "bohunk", derogatory terms for Hungarian, Bohemian, and Polish immigrant factory workers and hard laborers in the early 1900's. African-Americans began to use the word in reference to all whites regardless of specific nation of origin.
Used mainly by a black person.