How do I separate the dot from a lower case "i" so I can re-color just the dot? I want the straight part black and the dot red.
Type > Create Outlines From the menu. Text will no longer be editable as live text though.
Although really.. I'd just draw a secondary shape to cover the dot. Then group it with the text.
Or you could utilize the Appearance Panel to create a covering shape...
When the fill is changed to white, it makes the dot of the i essentially disappear. And you can alter the fill color to match a colored background if necessary.