The term 'affirmative action' is deliberately vague as to disguise what it really entails, which is discrimination. The term 'positive discrimination', which is the term used in some other languages such as Dutch, is a more honest term. It is still lacking however, as both affirmative and positive imply that it is beneficial, but to the victims who are denied a job or admission to a college because of their race or sex, it is certainly not. Still, positive discrimination is a more accurate term than affirmative action.
What is positive about affirmative action? It bars some people from getting a job/college based on their talents and skills. Affirmative action puts less qualified people into a college. These students will more likely not be able to cope with the demands of the college. These students are more likely to drop out therefore leaving an open spot where student with the skills to meet the college's demand would have succeed.
Despite what most people believe, affirmative action is not the process of discriminating against anyone. It was designed to level the playing field for minorities and try and prevent discrimination against them. Most examples of affirmative action include outreach and management development programs to try and attract people who have often been historically discriminated against. Positive discrimination implies that a group is being discriminated against, which is clearly not the case.
I do think the necessity of affirmative action has worn off in modern day America, even though there is still discrimination among groups. But the United States has diversified and even the so-called "Majority" is made up of several European ethnicities and aren't one and the same. But it isn't discrimination.
I disagree with affirmative action, but to simply rename it like that seems very childish and non-productive. Names don't matter. What matters is the impact it has on people. I understand where affirmative action came from but it is no longer needed. Everyone has ample opportunities if they work hard.
I do not believe it would be appropriate or helpful to use "positive discrimination" instead of "affirmative action." Using a different set of words doesn't make an action okay, it just seeks to hide it behind another, newer term. Affirmative action wouldn't be okay just because you change the name of it.