I'm not going to try to convince you give Westerns a chance because it's cool if you've decided they're not for you. Even in the 40s, 50s, and 60s you could find westerns where not everyone who looks like you is a racist caricature or target practice.Brown people are either villainous, stupid, or we get the "magic brown person" or "noble savage" trope. Some of that is 19th century colonial propaganda, but it was also adopted wholeheartedly and uncritically into the modern western genre. I like hero stories as much as the next nerd, but I have a lot of trouble enjoying a genre like the "classic" western when everyone in it who looks like me is a racist caricature and target practice.
While modern writers and artists can and have begun to reclaim that diversity of storytelling in the western genre, most of my favorite examples have been done by way of the fantastical western, or the weird western, rather than a "classic" western.
Modern writers? There were people examining these tropes more than seventy years ago. In The Searchers (1956), Ethan Edwards, as played by John Wayne, is not the good guy and the further into the movie we get the more brutish he becomes. In The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Pompey, as played by African American actor Woody Strode, was one of the few characters who could look Doniphon (Wayne) right in the eyes and not only tell him "no" but to get his naughty word together because they had work to do tomorrow. And in Fort Apache (1948), the Apache are depicted in a sympathetic manner as they go to war because of a corrupt Indian agent and an army commander who refuses to treat them with any respect.
I had never heard of the Western becoming more popular in the US during times when movements for social justice were big. Westerns were big in the United States for almost a century starting with books in 1860s and continuing into motion pictures though the 1960s where they started to wane in popularity. Have they gained any popularity in recent years? The last big budget Western was The Lone Ranger and that one flopped hard.have some thoughts on why the western genre becomes more popular in the US during times when movements for social justice are also big in the public consciousness, and I think it boils down to the western as a form of myth-making for white people in the States.
Nothing wrong with that. Life is too short and you've got better ways to spend your precious time.But all of that is part of why I feel so uncomfortable with using the western right out of the box. The entire foundation of the genre is based on some deeply racist and sexist ideology, and I just don't feel like replicating that in my free time without significant revision.