Burrows and Wallace's rigid application of the word "race" fails to account for the evolution of P. Race may have been "central to the career launch of [Barnum]" "albeit a questionable assertion given his first major entertainment venture was displaying a 161 year old woman, an attraction largely popular as a result of her age not race "but it cannot be used as a thread by which to chronicle Barnum's career. Doing so proves a problematic endeavor given the semantics of race "that is race, as commonly understood, is inextricably linked with skin color. .
The commercial success Barnum enjoyed as a result of his exaggeration of race became a springboard for other bizarre forays. The giants and dwarfs and Siamese Twins, for instance, were not a categorization of race, but an exaggeration of form or appearance, deviations from the norm that attracted large audiences. However, Burrows and Wallace emphasize race, "blackness" in particular, as "central to Barnum's formula." Barnum's "champion nigger dancer" was well-received, but was not singularly responsible for the impresario's commercial success. Barnum did not limit his freakish displays to black caricatures as loosely suggested by the umbrella term, "blackness." Rather, "blackness" was synonymous with the grotesque, the latter of which was imperative to Barnum's formula. .
Barnum's eagerness to distort was by no means limited to race. He understood how images were bought and sold; a cultural spectator spawned entertainment mogul, Barnum capitalized on unfamiliarity and invoked cultural stereotypes that proved both piquant and comical to audiences at the time. .